Share this entry
British English: /ˈeɪb(ə)l/
American English: /ˈeɪbəl/
To be able to meaning can is usually translated by the verb potere: I was not able to go = non ci sono potuto andare; I was not able to help him = non ho potuto aiutarlo. - The main exception to this occurs when to be able to implies the acquiring of a skill, when sapere is used: he's nine and he's still not able to read = ha nove anni e ancora non sa leggere. - Note that to be able to in the past is translated by riuscire, especially when some effort is implied: compare He could swim very well = sapeva nuotare benissimo, and he was able to swim ashore before he fainted = riuscì a nuotare fino a riva prima di svenire. - For more examples and other uses, see the entry below.


  • 1 (having ability to)to be able to do
    potere fare, saper fare, essere capace di fare, riuscire a fare
    he was, wasn't able to read it she was able to play the piano at the age of four
    sapeva suonare il piano a quattro anni
    I'll be (better) able to give you more information after the meeting
    potrò darti maggiori informazioni dopo la riunione
Definition of able in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources