I want to test your ability to explain.

I was thinking present, as in your ability to present — being able to give a good presentation.

That's the only choice I can think of, but I feel there's a better one. I googled it, but only received topics about improving how to explain thing.

4 Answers 4


Dictionary.com defines...

cogent - convincing or believable by virtue of forcible, clear, or incisive presentation; telling.

It's often applied to an argument (verbal presentation in favour of a particular concept) but it's also commonly used of people who are good at presenting arguments, explanations, etc.

  • 1
    I don't believe an adjective answers the question.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 3:39
  • @stevesliva Why not? The question is: a word for ability... Intelligent is an adjective (having or showing the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills); empathic is also an adjective (showing an ability to share the feelings of another). (definitions from ODO). I quite like this word.
    – Lucky
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 6:55
  • @Lucky One doesn't test or evaluate an adjective. And perhaps I nitpick the answer because I think cogent really isn't used to describe people all that often. It's far more often used to describe arguments.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 17:11
  • @stevesliva: I think anyone who can't transparently apply the regular transformation to get from my adjectival cogent to hrexen's noun form cogency should probably be on English Language Learners, so that's something of a non-issue. I did intend to flag up that a cogent argument is far more common than a cogent speaker though - but perhaps I didn't express that very well. Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 19:12
  • 1
    Cogency is so rare that it's a terrible word to use if one want to be cogent, which might have been why it wasn't your answer in the first place. Opinions on connotation and use are germane here. The number of answers offered because the dictionary suggest they're fitting is depressing.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 19:32

cogency - the capacity to persuade

merriam-webster definition

  • 2
    +1 haha - why not indeed, if OP insists on a noun? :) Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 11:20
  • Here's another good one: lucidity the quality of being easily understood, completely intelligible, or comprehensible. Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 11:22
  • Or for a verb, explicate - to make plain or clear; explain; interpret Commented Jun 16, 2015 at 11:30

Communicate - to give information about (something) to someone by speaking, writing, moving your hands, etc.

Merriam Webster Definition

In your example: 'I want to test your ability to communicate' or perhaps 'I want to test your communication'.

  • I would go by ELUCIDATE.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 18:04

A person asking, "Ability to express oneself in an appropriate manner" was redirected to this thread, but I don't think it's the same question.

I initially thought eloquent or articulate, but upon further thought, I suspect what they are asking for (probably for writing a job description) is the ability to communicate decorously.

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