How to ask about skill? Ability and inability


English learners are so accustomed to the verb can - to be able, to be able - that they often do not see other ways to express skill. And there are countless of them in English!

How to ask about skill?

Is she able to control her emotions?

Were you able to finish the lecture on time?

Do you think he’ll be able to do that for you?

Can your brother sing?

How to express skill?

I can type.

I’ll do what I can to mend this.

When she was younger she could ride a horse.

When I was your age, I could remember a lot of things at a time.

We will probably be able to help you.

The author could use other expressions.

There is no doubt, he could have finished the university.

I am not sure I know how to raise kids.

Linda is capable of managing her own business.

She is a great friend.

He is smart enough not to mess up with her.

It’s perfectly possible.

That money will enable me to carry on.

How to express incompetence?

Some youngsters cannot find the time to revise college staff.

We can’t possibly cancel the agreement.

She justcan’t imagine that!

I will not be able to come to your birthday party.

She couldn’t swim at that time.

I couldn’t pick you up from work because I had to finish mine.

She is incapable of keeping secrets.

You are totally unable to use this database.

She won’t be capable of winning the competitions.

The doctor didn’t manage to identify the disease.

He doesn’t know how to drive a car.

It’s impossible for us to upgrade the software at this stage.

It would be too difficult for Sarah to forgive him.

It’s beyond me!

Angela is getting married to her first love. This is beyond my imagination!

We are not prepared enough to oppose him.

Let's summarize: what are the common phrases used in English to say "I can" or "I can't."

Table. How to express ability and inability in English.

I am able to do

The expression means the same as can. But it freely changes over time and replaces can where it is necessary to emphasize this time.

I am unable to do

I can't do anything.

I am capable of something

I am capable of anything. This expression belongs to a bit of a bookish style. Try not to abuse them.

I could have done

I could have done something in the past (but didn't).

To enable to do

to allow something to be done; to be allowed to do something.

I am + adjective + enough + to do

I am smart enough (smart, strong, rich, etc.) to do anything

I know how to do

I know how to do anything

Manage to do

be able to do something

Fail to do

be unable to do anything

It’s beyond me

That's too much!; This is beyond my abilities / capabilities!