What is the difference between Enable and Unable?


Unable vs enable

Even though these two words look and sound very similar they are actually quite different. To begin with enable is a verb whereas unable is an adjective.

Enable synonym: authorize
Unable synonym: not able to do something

To enable somebody or something:
means to give power or ability to a person or a thing to do something, to give them the ability to do something.

To enable somebody to do something:
means that the person is given the power to achieve something or is given the ability to do something.

The person is given means that they need to complete a task, achieve a goal or do a chore.

  • Parents enable their children to gain an education by funding the expenses and providing them with food and accommodation.

The verb Enable can also be used to when talking about objects.

For example, a lot of young people want to go to college or university after high school in order to find a good job afterwards. Unfortunately, in many countries it can be expensive to study in college or university and many families can’t afford these extra costs.

However, many colleges and universities provide scholarships that enable these students to continue with their education.

Without this support, many students wouldn’t be able to afford admission fees, accommodation, course material, etc. These scholarships give students the ability to continue with their studies without having to worry about financing it alone.

On the other hand, the

Adjective Unable:
describes a person or a thing that doesn’t have the ability to do something.

  • The student didn’t receive the scholarship he needed from the university and he was unable to fund the fees himself. Once he realized that he couldn’t afford the fees, he decided to work and save for a year, and reapply the following year.

Below, you will find some more examples using the verb enable and the adjective unable:

The high school acquired a desperately needed grant from the government. The school staff and pupils were extremely relieved as the grant enables them to refurbish the old building and buy new computers for the computer room. Without the grant, the school would be unable to operate safely and efficiently which would have a negative impact on the students.

Ever since the stairlift was installed, Mrs. Norton has been a lot happier and more comfortable in her home as the stairlift has enabled her to go up and down the stairs with ease. This had become very difficult for her over the past year due to her hip replacement and old age.

After the surgery, the woman was unable to drive for six months, this meant that her family had to drive her to work every morning and pick her up from work every evening.

Mr. Bradley was unable to attend the meeting at work as his flight was canceled. Fortunately, he could join the meeting online and didn’t miss anything. The internet enabled him to attend the meeting even though he was on the other side of the world.

The restaurant had to close down after ten years in business as they were unable to pay their staff and meet their loan payments. The news came as a huge shock to the community as the restaurant was a favorite for many families living in the area.

Being active enables people to improve their physical and mental health. Experts recommend people to exercise three to four days per week.

Allow vs Permit vs Let vs Enable

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