Quick answer
"Capable" is an adjective which is often translated as "capaz", and "be able to" is a transitive verb phrase which is often translated as "poder". Learn more about the difference between "capable" and "be able to" below.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (competent)
a. capaz
I will hire Juan. I think he is a very capable worker.Contrataré a Juan. Creo que es un trabajador muy capaz.
b. competente
My new boss is a capable leader and an expert in his field.Mi nuevo jefe es un líder competente y experto en su campo.
2. (able to)
a. capaz de
For this job, we need someone capable of lifting heavy boxes.Para este trabajo, necesitamos a alguien capaz de levantar cajas pesadas.
3. (predisposed towards)
a. capaz
My friend says she would be capable of anything to get her boyfriend back.Mi amiga dice que sería capaz de cualquier cosa para que su novio regrese con ella.
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be able to(
A transitive verb phrase is a phrase that combines a verb with a preposition or other particle and requires a direct object (e.g. Take out the trash.).
transitive verb phrase
1. (to be capable of)
a. poder
I am able to meet next Monday at nine in the morning. Is that convenient?Puedo reunirme el lunes que viene a las nueve de la mañana. ¿Le es conveniente?
b. ser capaz de
He was not able to walk after the accident.No era capaz de caminar después del accidente.
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