Difference Between Ability and Skill

Ability vs Skill

When a person applies for a job, he learns about various skills and abilities that he must possess to be eligible for the test that is conducted to select the candidates. But this is very confusing as many think of abilities and skills to be the same and even synonyms. However, the two are as different as chalk and cheese, and there are many differences between the two though having ability makes it easier to learn a skill. A person has expertise in computer languages while another person may have expertise in understanding and creating music. Are these skills or abilities? Read on to know the subtle differences between ability and a skill.


You are mesmerized to see an expert surfing on the huge sea waves. This is a quality that he has learned with practice and training putting in hard work and dedication, to be able to perform high quality tricks with ease that look unbelievable to an onlooker. Similarly, the skills of an archer, athlete, gymnast, etc are all acquired and are learned over a period of time. These are motor skills where combinations of hand and body movements are learnt and performed at the right moment and technique to make the performance smooth and attractive. Watching a ballerina perform is like seeing poetry in action, so smooth and gliding are her actions and movements. However, there are also cognitive skills as well as perceptual skills that are revealed in tasks like learning a language and learning computer programming respectively.


Ability is the internal quality that makes it possible for a person to learn or master a skill easily. Abilities are either there or are lacking, but every person has a different set of abilities because of his genetic code that he gets from his parents. This is why we find that some people are good at languages, and others are naturally good at sports. Some make good dancers while others cannot learn to dance smoothly and look as they are being made to dance because of their innate abilities or the lack of these abilities. Sports that require good hand and eye coordination are picked up easily by people having inherent quality of good coordination. On the other hand, there are people who are innately good at sports that require muscle power or endurance.

Remember, skill can be acquired easily if the person has inborn ability required for a particular task. Additionally, the person needs to learn the techniques needed to master the skill. Thus, ability is a must for a person to acquire a skill. However, history is replete with examples of disabled people acquiring skills through hard work and sheer determination.


What is the difference between Ability and Skill?

• Ability is the genetic makeup of a person that disposes a person towards particular jobs and professions while skills are learnt or acquired.

• The reason why some people are good at languages while others are good at music is basically because of their different genetic makeup.

• However, some people acquire a skill without having the ability to master it.

• Ability in general is required along with knowledge and techniques to master a skill.