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  1. Mehrgan's Avatar
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    #1

    Question "ability" or "capability"?

    Hi,

    Is there any distinction between the two words? Could they be used instead of each other?


    Many thanks in advance.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "ability" or "capability"?

    I've heard people debate this and have never heard a distinction that makes much sense to me. You'll see "ability" as part of the definition of "capability."


    Some say that "ability" refers to a physical or mental skill. She has the ability to recall with 100% accuracy a conversation that took place a week ago. He has the ability to lift 1000 pounds.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: "ability" or "capability"?

    Capability:
    the quality of being capable; practical ability

    Ability:
    1. a being able; power to do (something physical or mental)
    2. skill, expertness, or talent

  3. philadelphia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: "ability" or "capability"?

    *Not a teacher

    The capability implies a will, a can-do, to have guts while the ability is just a matter of facts.

    You've got good abilities at writing but do you have the capability to perform a novel?

    EDIT: We have a game for children and sometimes for teenagers and olders, which is called "cap' or not cap'". Eg You eat that chilli at once, cap' or not cap'?
    Last edited by philadelphia; 12-Aug-2010 at 23:53.

  4. chester_100's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "ability" or "capability"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mehrgan View Post
    Hi,

    Is there any distinction between the two words? Could they be used instead of each other?


    Many thanks in advance.
    Capability carries a sense that doesn't seem to be conveyed by ability:

    Potentiality; capacity for development.

    -Malleable: capable of being shaped
    -Breakable: capable of being broken

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