Difference between ability and capability
Ability Vs capability:
The words ability and capabilities are often seen to be used synonymously and interchangeably perhaps because of the similarity between the contexts in which they are used. Yet, the terms ability and capability are very different from each other and this article seeks to distinguish those differences at the same time providing individual explanations as to why each of them is different.
What is ability?
The ability can be defined as the being able or possessing the power to do something. It can also suggest one’s skills and talents and is quite difficult to quantify. For example, one can say that my sister has the ability to read minds which signifies one of her talents. Also, the sentence
He has an amazing ability to multitask
signifies what that person is able to do although there are no limitations of his abilities as there can be other abilities that he possesses as well.
What is capability?
Capability refers to the practical ability of an individual or the quality of being capable. This term is often limiting as it usually implies one’s maximum ability o the limits of establishing or accomplishing something. Also, capability is more associated with organizations or enterprises much more than persons as capability when applied to a person signifies limitations.
For example one can say, he is only capable of accomplishing one task at a time. Or the above mentioned company is capable of growth and also increasing of their capital.
What is the difference between capability and ability?
An ability is the power to do something and often refers to the skills and talents of a person whereas capability refers to the practical ability of a person or an enterprise. Ability is a generic quality which is non-quantifiable and yet, a capability refers to the maximum ability of a person which denotes a limitation.
The term ability is often coupled together with people whereas capability when couple with a person is often limiting. For example,
He is able to paint beautifully.
He is capable of creating abstract paintings.
Here, ability does not limit as his ability to paint can extend itself over a vast area. Yet, his capability limits him to creating abstract paintings which signifies a specific talents. Therefore, one can say that ability indicates a talent whereas capability indicates a limit or a specific purpose.
Also, whereas an ability refers to a person, the term capability is much more suited to be used for an enterprise or an organization.