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Competence and competency

Competence describes a person’s capability to do something adequately, or a person’s mental capacity to understand the proceedings of a trial. Competence is the noun form of competent, which is an adjective.

Competency describes a person’s capability to do something adequately, or a person’s mental capacity to understand the proceedings of a trial. Competency is an alternate noun form of competent, which is an adjective. In effect, competence and competency are interchangeable, though competence is more often used to describe a person’s general ability, while competency is more often used to describe a person’s ability to perform a certain task. Both competence and competency appear in the late sixteenth century to mean rivalry, evolving to mean adequate supply, and then finally in 1790, meaning sufficiency to deal with what is at hand. Competence and competency come from the Latin competentia, meaning meeting together, agreement, symmetry.

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Examples

Teachers to lose jobs for lack of competence (The Arab News)

Once you leave the realm of policy, the fighting starts, but it’s mostly about either party loyalty or issues of competence, approach and presence. (The Yale Daily News)

The killings last year of Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, raised questions about Thailand’s safety for tourists, the competence of its police and its treatment of migrant workers. (Reuters Canada)

Forty-nine-year-old Lishan Wang was ruled incompetent in April, but his doctors at the time believed he could be restored to competency with treatment (The Hartford Courant)

IBM and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) have jointly announced the establishment of the IBM Smarter Commerce Centre of Competency (SCCOC), which aims to develop new products and solutions for running online shopping and customer engagement sites. (The Jakarta Post)

The state is conducting competency tests for students to determine the learning levels among children by evaluating them in mathematics and their first language. (The Times of India)

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