1          Verb + ability

Use the correct form of these verbs:


affect       assess overestimate         lose doubt show


  1. Examinations are not the only means of _____________ someone’s ability. There are other ways of measuring potential.




  1. At first I questioned his abilities, but he has done the job so well. I’m now ashamed that I had so little confidence in him and that I ____________ his abilities in the first place.




  1. It is a well-known fact that even small amounts of alcohol can ____________ your ability to drive safely.




  1. She was so shocked by the accident that she ____________ the ability to speak.




  1. Although Peter ____________ a lot of ability as a teenager, he just wasn’t good enough to go professional.




  1. I had to give up half way through the race. I had obviously____________ my ability to run a marathon.


Go back and underline all the verb collocations with ability.




2          Noun + preposition + ability


Use these nouns in the sentences:


confidence        best lack       refection test   use




  1. Tiger Woods may be the best golfer in the world, but the Open Championship next week will be a real ____________ of his ability.




  1. Raymond is very clever, but he doesn’t make full ____________ of his abilities.




  1. I was surprised when he failed his examinations. His results are certainly not a true ____________ of his abilities.




  1. He’s extremely competent and will do the job properly. I have every ____________ in his ability.




  1. He said that he would try to do the job to the ____________ of his ability.




  1. I believe he lost confidence. His failure was not due to a____________ of ability.


Go back and underline all the noun + preposition + ability collocations.




3         Common adjective collocations


Use these adjectives in the sentences:


average         considerable   mixed natural       incredible proven




  1. Most of us have to work hard to learn to play a musical instrument. However, there are people who are born with a____________ ability and who learn effortlessly.




  1. The students in my class are of____________ ability, so I teach them in groups according to their level.




  1. I have no doubts that he has____________ ability, but I don’t think his personality is suited to this kind of work.




  1. We need somebody who has done this before – with the ____________ ability to do the job.




  1. I’m not a genius and I’m not stupid. I would describe myself as being of ____________ ability.




  1. I don’t know how she does it, but Annie Lennox has this____________ ability to electrify her audience.


Go back and underline all the adjective + ability collocations in this exercise.






  1.         Here are three ways to describe ‘great’ ability:


She has a remarkable ability to recall long poems after only reading them once.


She has exceptional abilities as a musician.


His examination results are proof of his outstanding ability.




  1.         Remember that an adjective collocation can come before or after the noun:


She has remarkable ability.


Her ability is remarkable.




  1.         Notice the use of ‘best’ in 2-5.‘Best’ is usually an adjective, but it is used as a noun in the expression to ‘do something to the best of your ability’.




  1.         We can talk about specific abilities:


musical ability             physical ability


linguistic ability           technical ability


artistic ability               acting ability




  1.         When we talk about very intelligent children, we often call them ‘children of above average ability’.






Exercise 1:


assessing     2. doubted   3. affect 4. lost           5. showed 6. overestimated

Exercise 2:


test     2. use     3. reflection     4. confidence 5. best         6. lack

Exercise 3:


natural      2. mixed   3. considerable       4. proven 5. average        6. incredible