Please see the sentance below

Composed of heavy-textured clay soil, adobe has great elasticity when moist, but when dry is able of holding its shape

I'm practising spotting the error in sentences and the answer key says that "of holding* is wrong. Although it doesn't supply the right answer, I think it is probably to hold.

2 questions :

1 is the correct answer "to hold"? 2 why is "of holding" marked as being wrong?

2 Answers 2


1 is the correct answer "to hold"?

Yes. The adjective 'able' is followed by the 'to' (infinitive) form of a verb: I am able to see you. He is able to run fast.

2 why is "of holding" marked as being wrong?

Because we cannot follow 'able' with 'of' and the -ing form of a verb. We could use 'capable' in that way. Adobe is capable of holding its shape.

Able to do something, capable of doing something.

Able to (Cambridge Dictionary)

Capable of (Cambridge Dictionary)

To find what preposition to use after an adjective (that is, whether to use of, to, about, for, with, at, by, in from, etc), in a particular situation, look at the entry for the adjective in a good dictionary.

  • Ok many thanks! How can I learn these? What are these adjectives called?
    – Gottano
    Jun 21, 2018 at 22:25

"Able to hold" would be right. I don't know if there's a real reason, but people don't say "i am able of doing x". However, "capable of holding its shape" would be correct.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .