Difference Between Ability and Capability (With Table)

Difference Between Ability and Capability (With Table)

Both basic definitions can be considered quick, simple, and even comparable. However, the distinctions between these two terms can only be discovered after a much closer examination. Any dictionary’s conventional definition of aptitude is the capacity to perform any activity, whether cognitively, physically, or anything else.

On the contrary, capability might be described as one’s capacity to perform certain tasks. Both terms allude to a person’s or institution’s abilities, skills, and competence. Capability and aptitude are distinguished by “innate capacity versus acquired capability.”

Ability vs Capability

The main difference between ability and capability is that “ability” is more widely used to refer to individual people. On the other hand, the term “capability” is more commonly used in connection with organizations or institutions.

Ability vs Capability

As an example of capability, we commonly say that ‘Europe has a degree of capability to manage its debt effectively’ or the State Department can raise and spend money efficiently.

Because both terms have similar connotations, it’s hard to see their differences. However, when it comes to their application, there is a distinction between ability and capability. You can’t tell the difference between the terms until you notice how they’re used.

The primary distinction between ability and capability seems to be that ability is the potential to do something, while capability is the potential to accomplish something.

Comparison Table Between Ability and Capability

Parameters of comparisonAbilityCapability
DefinitionThis term commonly refers to individuals.The ability or capability to complete a task.
UseIndividuals are commonly referred to by this term.When referring to a company, this term is used.
SourcesAncienter in origin.Younger when contrasted to ability.
Root wordAbleCapable
ExampleThe capacity to listen to practically something like that without losing your cool is defined as education.The number of jealous individuals confirms our capabilities.

What is Ability?

From an early age, one is encouraged to be “able,” to have the drive and ability to pursue whatever goal one sets their mind to, regardless of the effort. Every person is urged to use their full potential or talent to complete a task that appears unattainable at first glance. Though there is no precise definition of the term, it is, at its most fundamental level, the ability to achieve.

The term “ability” is derived from the Latin term “habilis,” which means “to be able.” Any individual’s capacity may be classified into cognitive, physical, and psychological.

Mental ability refers to a person’s brain capability or smartness. It includes things like receptive language, which is the ability to understand and process words and how they relate to one another, and number competence, which seems to be the ability to make reliable estimations. Then there’s logical thinking, which is the ability to put supposition and training received from books into practice. 

Three of the most prominent mental abilities are cognition and essential supporting speed, which further refer to the user’s evocative abilities. Evolving resilience,  static power, extensiveness, and interactive flexibility are all physical abilities.

Two of the most significant physical abilities seem to be natural balance, which is the ability to sustain a relatively stable state of the body and natural body synchronization, which is, as the name implies, the ability to coordinate one’s multiple organ systems to support the effective movement and other activities.

What is capability?

The Oxford Dictionary defines capability as “the value of being competent, possessing the acumen or endurance for doing something.” This is mostly about organizational capabilities, which differ from one organization to the next. Nevertheless, they all use a few terms in common, such as communication, organization, and professional abilities.

To identify and assess communication within the organization, even with their clientele, in seamless connectivity. To ensure smooth interdepartmental collaboration, effectively communicate throughout all social networking sites and develop improvement strategies.

In terms of organizational capabilities, these include enhancing and enhancing the organization’s reputation and improving internal and external relationships. Professional abilities entail bettering the industry’s counsel and command structure. Have a company that runs smoothly, is ethical, and is harmonious.

Not only that, but it also affects leadership, learning, collaborative ability, inventions, communications, collaboration, and integrity in the case of a person. If you were to be in a team where someone was influenced by their mental state, could you guarantee your success?  

When a company or organization hires someone, they should look for capacity or potential since it shows how the person may learn and develop while working for the firm, which will benefit both the corporation and the employee.

Main Differences Between Ability and Capability

  1. Capability, in its most fundamental sense and usage, denotes promise, whereas ability denotes likelihood.
  2. Regarding use, “ability” is applied to individuals, whereas “capacity” is applied to organizations.
  3. “Ability” is the elder of the individual terms regarding its history.
  4. Cognitive, physiological, and diagnostic talents are examples of abilities that belong to an individual. Professional, interactive, and organizational capacities are the three types of capabilities.
  5. Someone else might, for instance, be able to comprehend and digest a book. Regarding competence, someone may be capable of reading the same book as you, but they may not even be trying.


Although there is no evident distinction between the two, they are frequently used interchangeably. However, if one looks closely, one may find small changes in use, such as how ability refers to one’s capability and experience in performing a task. On the other hand, capability refers to one’s ability to pursue a specific goal.

The forms of ability are substantially different from capacity; it mostly refers to one’s intellectual, physiological, and psychological competence. On the other hand, capability is used in professional or organizational settings and is broader in its application.

Ability is not the same as capacity; it refers to cerebral, bodily, and analytical skills. On the other hand, capability is used in professional or corporate settings and is broader in nature.


  1. https://aisel.aisnet.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1142&context=icis2004
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/tea.3660200204
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