How to express ability

Introductory notes about expressing ability?

Ability can be defined as the possession of the means or skill to do something. For example, the company manager can motivate his employees. This means that the manager has the skill and the ability to motivate his employees. But expressing ability means showing your partner that you have the competence and capability to do something. You can do this appropriately only if you are aware of the ways and expressions that are used to do so.

There are two types of ability that we often want to express: physical ability and mental ability, and mental ability. Physical ability refers to what you can physically do, like: I can easily lift this heavy bag. This sentence expresses physical ability because lifting something heavy requires physical strength.

Mental ability, on the other hand, designates what you are mentally able to do. For example: Margaretta is a genius. She can process information like a computer. As we notice, information processing requires intelligence and mental skills not physical strength

As for the expressions that always use to express ability, we can mention can+verb, {am/is/are} able to+verb, and {am/is/are} capable of+verb-ing, if we are talking about something that we can do in the present time. But if we want to talk about past ability, i.e., something which we could do in the past, but we can’t do now, we use the following expressions: could+verb, {was/were} able to+verb, and {was/were} capable of+verb-ing. Take a look at the two tables below to get a better understanding of these concepts.

Expressing present ability

Can+verbI can drive a car.
Am/Is/Are+able to+verb– I am able to do this exercise in one minute.
– He is able to do this exercise in one minute.
– They are able to do the exercise in one minute.
Am/Is/Are capable of+verb-ing– I am capable of swimming.
– She is capable of swimming.
– They are capable of swimming.

Expressing past ability

Could+verbWhen I was 16 I could run fast.
Am/Is/Are able to+verb– I was able to arrive on time.
– He was able to arrive on time.
– They were able to arrive on time.
Am/Is/Are capable of+verb-ing– I was capable of doing my job appropriately.
– She was capable of doing her job appropriately.
– They were capable of doing their job appropriately.

Image 1

Image 2

Expressing ability: practice

Express ability with the following actions using the ways stated above.

  1. Climbing trees
  2. Riding a bike
  3. Drawing
  4. Writing articles in English
  5. Playing football
  6. Dancing
  7. Surfing
  8. Speaking French
  9. Making ice-cream
  10. Passing the driving test

Similar Posts