Language tip of the week: capability

Posted by on May 25, 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. Following the previous language tip about the patterns that follow the noun possibility, here are some more patterns for nouns that end in -ility.

The noun capability can be followed by an infinitive or by the pattern of doing something:
✓ The train has the capability to reach speeds of over 200 miles an hour.
✓ He has the capability of becoming an excellent teacher.

The noun ability can be followed by an infinitive but not by the pattern of doing something:
✗ Tiredness can seriously impair your ability of driving.
✓ Tiredness can seriously impair your ability to drive.

The noun feasibility can be followed by the pattern of doing something but not by the infinitive:
✗ There will be an investigation into the feasibility to build a new bridge.
✓ There will be an investigation into the feasibility of building a new bridge.

More language tips

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