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I would like ask if there is any semantic difference between the following sentences:

What makes us different from other animal families is that we have a complicated brain that has the capability of creating new technologies.

What makes us different from other animal families is that we have a complicated brain that has the capability to create new technologies.


  • @mplungjan I see your point. However, not every word which are followed by "to" may be gerund. – Mrt Dec 13 '17 at 21:30
  • No, there is no difference between these. "Capability of creating" sounds wrong to me -- but language evolves and we don't always evolve with it. Ngram suggests it's become quite popular, recently. – Andrew Dec 13 '17 at 21:46
  • @Andrew can I ask why does it sound wrong? Is it because of the verb " create" or the sentence itself or the usage of " of + ing" sounds wrong than " to +infinitive " form although it is grammatically correct according to dictionaries? – Mrt Dec 13 '17 at 22:14
  • @Mrt Grammaticality is not the same as idiomaticity. There are grammatical phrases or structures that may sound more or less idiomatic. In English, sometimes the shorter the better. Personally, I don't see much difference between "capability to do sth" and "capability of doing sth", but I'm not a native speaker and we have to trust those who are. I do find, however, that "ability to do sth" is more idiomatic than "ability of doing sth", perhaps because one says "be able to do sth". With "of" being the preposition that comes after the adjective "capable", "capability of doing sth" is reasonable – Gustavson Dec 14 '17 at 2:08

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