Language tip of the week: capable

Posted by on September 20, 2012

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Here is some advice about the patterns that follow the adjective capable:

The adjective capable is never followed by an infinitive. Use the pattern capable of doing something:

✗ Both sexes are capable to do military service.
✓ Both sexes are capable of doing military service.
✗ A university graduate is expected to be capable to cope with such a situation.
✓ A university graduate is expected to be capable of coping with such a situation.

Note that the adjective incapable is used in exactly the same way:

The city’s road system is incapable of handling the current volume of traffic.

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