Power, Strength, Means, Ability, Capacity

 

在中文裡面常提到有能力做事,「能力」可運用的範圍很廣泛。但是在英文中表示「能力」的字就有仔細的區分,例如:power,strength,means,ability,capacity等。

 

  1. Power

(1)有權力,勢力,支配力和影響力之意。表示有能力去支配別人和為別人決定事情進而影響他人。

Ex:

I’ve got no power over advertising matters, so you’ll have to talk to publicity department.

She interviewed six women who have reached positions of great power and influence.

The power of the governments has increased greatly over the past century. (最近一個世紀以來,各國政府的權力大大增強了。)

(2)才能,天賦。這裡是指你與生具來的能力,像是說話的能力或預知未來的能力。

Ex:
Humans are the only animals with the power of speech.(人類是唯一有說話能力的動物。)

After forty years, this film still hasn’t lost its power to shock.

(3) 體力,力量。是指身體方面的力量或是一個國家的經濟、工業或軍隊實力,有時也可表示自然界的力量 。

Ex:
So enormous was the hurricane’s power that it carried away whole buildings.(颶風的力量大極了,竟颳走了整座的建築物。)

You need to have tremendous power in your arms and legs to be a good rower.

(4)電力,動力;功率。通常是指製造電力或機械所需的能量。

Ex:
A car needs a lot of power to accelerate quickly.

I bought lots of candles in case there’s a power cut. (斷電或停電)

 

  1. Strength 力;力量,力氣,體力;實力;強度。指身體方面的力量或是某種程度上的強而有力。

Ex:

He does weight-training to build up his (physical) strength. (他練舉重以增強體力。)

The enemy withdrew after we made a show of strength.(敵人在我們展現實力之後撤退了。)

 

  1. Means (money) 財力,收入。通常是指能讓你足夠過舒適生活的財富。

Ex:
Have you the means to support a family?(你有足夠的收入養家嗎?)

We have means to buy a house.

 

4.Ability (power) 能力、技能、才能、才智。其實,ability這字使用很廣泛,可指語言、做事等能力。也就是說,當在做事的時候所需要的體力、心力或技巧。

Ex:

She has demonstrated a remarkable ability to get things done.
(在辦事方面,她顯示了非凡的能力。)

Parents take care of their children to the best of their abilities.
(父母竭盡全力照顧他們的小孩)

 

5.Capacity (ability or power; position)

(1)能力、才能。通常是指一種潛在的才能,尤指許多人不具備的特殊才能。

Ex:
Her capacity to remember facts is remarkable.(她的記憶力很驚人。)

She was speaking in her capacity as a novelist, rather than as a television presenter.

(2)亦有總數、數量(Amount)之意。

Ex:
She’s got an amazing capacity for alcohol.酒量很好

It seems to be beyond his capacity to (He seems to be unable to) follow simple instructions.

 

【整理】關於能力的對照表

權力 power,authority
與生俱來的能力 power,capacity
財力 means
體力 strength,power
能力、才能 ability
特殊技巧的才能 capacity