Difference Between Ability and Capacity

In this world of competition before getting any job or applying for any kind of project; the first thing that we have to do is to prove our ability and capacity.

These are the basic quality that an employer or a boss tends to look for in his or her employee. These two quality proves how well we can do that particular job or work.

Ability vs Capacity

The main difference between Ability and Capacity is that Ability refers to a person’s physical or mental ability to achieve or accomplish anything, whereas Capacity is the power of holding, storing, or accommodating anything. In other words, Ability is the power, skill, means, and opportunity to perform a task. The skill, aptitude, or fitness to do something is referred to as a capability.

Ability vs Capacity

Ability refers to our quality to perform a task physically or mentally, and it can also refer to our knowledge, competence, or talent.

It’s also the trait that qualifies us for a specific task or job; it’s the specific quality that makes us powerful and self-assured. Ability can be divided into two parts:

i) Intellectual ability which is related to our mental power and intelligence

ii) Physical ability which is related to our physical fitness and body structure.

Capacity is described as the ability to do something or how much it can accommodate, it can also be referred to as the maximum amount that something can contain. 

Capacity in other words is to perform or produce, the amount that can be contained, and the maximum production possible.

We all have some of the other Capacity in us and we go through the extreme condition in our lives, that will be the point when we will understand our true Capacity.

Comparison Table Between Ability and Capacity

Parameters of ComparisonAbilityCapacity
Meaning What a person can doThe extend of a person’s ability to do something or the ability of thing or machine perform or produce
DefinitionDefined as the skill needed to do somethingDefined as the ability to do something
Related toSkill and intelligencePower
UsageIt is normally used in reference to a human beingIt is mostly used in reference to the quantity
ExampleHe has an Ability to become an excellent writerHe has the Capacity to handle this job.

What is Ability?

Ability is the quality or state of being able; capacity to do or of doing something or having the necessary power.  Ability is the unique power of the mind that helps us to make an important decision that makes us intelligent and successful.

The skill or competence in doing something is our ability to prove ourselves that we are fit for a particular work, it is our ability that makes us more popular and adds up to our qualities.  Consider the following examples to understand better:

a) This phone has the Ability to have its software upgraded wirelessly.

b) They are persons of Ability, who will go far in life.

c) She has an uncanny ability to defuse conflicts.

The ability to accomplish a task, whether physical, mental, linguistic or in any other sector, is defined as the competence or competency to do so. Ability is something that is inherited, as it is determined by a person’s genetic composition.

For example, some people excel at physical sports, while others have a strong sense of rhythm and love dance.

Some people are born with the capacity to readily handle languages, allowing them to acquire them fast, while others are at ease when performing calculations, allowing them to be excellent in math.

Ability is a quality that can be present or absent. It is easier to assist a person in mastering a task in a relevant area by passing on knowledge and the most recent information if one has the ability.

What is Capacity?

Capacity is described as a person’s or object’s maximum capabilities in science. When discussing the capacity of a cylindrical glass, for example, we refer to the greatest amount of fluid it can hold.

In human terms, a person may have the reflexes, speed, and stamina to be a boxer, but his capacity is the amount of time he can resist his opponent’s punches.

 A sprinter and a marathon runner are quite different athletes with very distinct abilities and capacities. A sprinter’s ability to blast out of the blocks is due to muscle power.

As a result, if an athlete possesses this skill, he can excel as a sprinter, whereas a long-distance runner has far greater stamina and endurance, which are quite distinct qualities.

The capacity of a boxer is his ability to withstand his opponent’s punches for the duration of a fight. Consider the following examples to understand better:

a) The human brain’s Capacity to recognize each detail of speech astounds me.

b) The auditorium has a capacity of 200 people.

c) He has the capacity to become a doctor.

Even though sometimes human beings have exceeded their normal threshold in times of adversity to save their lives, in general, capacity remains the upper limit of what they can stand up to.

In most cases, Capacity refers to either/or situations. For example: My car is either capable of going 200 miles per hour or it isn’t.

There is no such thing as a degree or a progression. It either has or does not have the capacity.

Main Differences Between Ability and Capacity

1. Ability usually refers to skills that can be graded. In most cases, Capability refers to either/or options in a hypothetical situation.

2. Ability is something that one is born with. Capacity on the other hand is a result of effort.

3. Ability refers to mental or physical, whereas Capacity refers to the ability or power.

4. Ability is the current quality of an individual, whereas capacity is the potential that a human can achieve in the future.               

5. Ability is the potential of an individual to do things at their best, whereas Capacity, on the other hand, is the maximum amount of work that a person or machine can do without sacrificing quality.

Difference Between Ability and Capacity


Ability and capacity are two adjectives that are difficult to distinguish since they have similar meanings and are sometimes used interchangeably.

Despite their similarities, the two have enough differences to warrant their use in distinct situations.

When we consider the word Ability the first word that comes to our mind is “able”, which gives us the direct meaning of Ability i.e. how much we are able to do something.

Capacity on the other hand refers to the power or the ability to do something, it measures our strength and our capability.

We can measure the Ability and Capacity of things or a machine, but when it comes to humans their real Abilities and Capacities are seen when they are in dire need or have a difficult situation.


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