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Thread: capacity of/for

    • Join Date: Apr 2010
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    capacity of/for

    One of my students is English, and she accepts the use of the preposition "for" in the sentence "the room has capacity for 60 people".. I thought the only right way to talk about contents with the word "capacity" was: "the room has a capacity of 60 people". She also accepts the preposition "for" in the question "How many people does the room have capacity for? ... I would suggest other type of questions such as "how many people can it take?... , not so directly translated from Spanish... or in any case, how many people does the room have a capacity of? (This doesn't sound natural to me either)... I would appreciate if someone can tell me if both prepositions are correct, and if they are not, explain the diffference to me. Thank you in advance.

  1. xpert's Avatar
    Senior Member
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    Re: capacity of/for

    Both refer to the amount of space a container, room etc has to hold things or people.
    Therefore, both are correct.

    The fuel tank has a capacity of 40 litres.
    The room had seating capacity for about 80.

    Notice that "capacity for" refers also to someone's ability to do something.
    a child's capacity for learning
    an infinite capacity for love

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
    Retired English Teacher
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    Re: capacity of/for

    I would prefer "a capacity of" when talking about volume. In the case of your question about the number of people that can fit in a room, I would use: "the room has space/seating for X persons".

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