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Capability vs Ability: The Difference Explained

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An ability is the power, skill, means and opportunity to do something.
A capability is the ability, aptitude or fitness to do something.

The Difference

In common usage, ability and capability are used interchangeably and can be considered synonymous. The differences are subtle:
Power vs Potential
Ability suggests that you have done something before. Capability can be used when you have the aptitude for something but have no experience or track record of success.
People vs Organizations
It is common to use both ability and capability to refer to the skills, knowledge and talents of people. When referring to organizations, it is more common to use capability. For example, "organizational ability" is commonly used to refer to individuals who have organizational skills whereas "organizational capability" is commonly used to indicate something that an organization such as a business does well.

Examples

She has the ability to close difficult deals.
He has the capability to do well on his math test if he studies.
The government has well developed information security capabilities.
Capability vs Ability
Ability
Capability
Definition
The power, skill, means and opportunity to do something.
The ability, aptitude or fitness to do something.
Indicates
Power
Power
Potential
Maps To
Able
Capable
Used For
Individuals
Individuals
Organizations

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