Distinguishing Between Abilities & Skills

When applying for a job, individuals often learn about the various skills and abilities they must possess to be eligible for the position. Many people might consider abilities and skills to be the same or synonymous, but there are significant differences between the two. While having ability can make learning a skill easier, these two concepts are distinct.

Key Takeaways

  • Skills are acquired through practice, training, and dedication, whereas abilities are internal qualities that make it possible for a person to learn or master a skill easily.
  • Abilities are influenced by genetic makeup and vary from person to person.
  • Skills can be acquired more easily if the person has the inborn ability required for a particular task, but there are also examples of people acquiring skills through hard work and determination without the innate ability.


An example of a skill is an expert surfer who has learned through practice, training, and dedication to perform high-quality tricks with ease. Similarly, the skills of an archer, athlete, or gymnast are all acquired and learned over time. These are motor skills, involving combinations of hand and body movements that are learned and performed with the right technique to make the performance smooth and attractive. Cognitive and perceptual skills are also examples of skills, such as learning a language or computer programming.


Ability refers to the internal quality that makes it possible for a person to learn or master a skill easily. Abilities are either present or lacking, and each person has a different set of abilities due to their genetic code inherited from their parents. This is why some people are naturally good at languages or sports, while others may be good at dancing or have difficulty learning to dance smoothly. Sports that require good hand-eye coordination are picked up more easily by people with inherent coordination abilities, while others may be innately better at sports requiring muscle power or endurance. It’s important to remember that ability is generally required, along with knowledge and techniques, to master a skill.

Difference Between Ability and Skill

  • Ability is related to a person’s genetic makeup and predisposes them towards particular jobs and professions, while skills are learned or acquired.
  • Some people are good at languages or music due to their different genetic makeup.
  • Some people acquire skills without having the ability to master them.
  • Ability, in general, is required along with knowledge and techniques to master a skill.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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