Examples: makapagluto = able to cook makapagtrabaho = able to work makapag-ensayo = able to practice
General: makapag- verbs are use to state the ability to perform the underlying verb root action. (I think that by 'ability' is meant that even if you know how, there is still something preventing you from doing it. For example, "Hindi ako marunong magluto." would mean "I don't know how to cook.", whereas "Hindi ako nakakapagluto." would mean "I am unable to cook."[even if you know how])
In general, makapag- is used with mag- verbs. The mag- verbs for the examples above are: magluto, magtrabaho, mag-ensayo. For maka- is generally used with um- and ma- verbs.
To my ear....the strongest use case is in the negative...to say "I cannot..." with the reason becoming clear from context...as Lancet examples suggest.
In the affirmative...I most often hear it as slightly more than I am ABLE...as in I am AVAAAAAAIL ABLE. I can...if only...you want. A soft ask.
Of course we have MA for the root...but not always MAG or UM affixes available for the same MA verb root. So Maka and Makapag can fill that gap. As well as add emphasis...to make the soft ask....slightly harder. :D Soft question...slightly harder. Crafty these tagalogs db. Tagalog is more fun DIN!
Here we have MA-, MAG- and -UM- affixes available...
So napupunit could be heard as "able to tear"
but "napunit" is probably better heard as "was passively torn"
So in the present tense I could say nakakapunit to emphasize "I am ABLE to tear"
Pulling the -UM- form - here naka - as softer intent than MAG- form nakapag. UM focuses more on locative I was THERE...able to tear
IF I want stronger I could use Magpupunit future tense...INDICATING I have ordinary intention to tear the goal object...
IF I desire to take very strong intention to the goal object...then I'll mark with ANG and use -IN as pupunitin
Or I can soften the clear intent with makapag while still emphasizing my capability
I might makakapagpunit to indicate IFFFF I have decided to...I could tear it...NO DOUBT (Softened confidence)
Natives are crafty with the intentions HAAA! Tagalog is more fun DIN!
Look at the dictionary here...and see what difference in usage you can pull from the MA-, -UM-, MAG- and -IN affixes.
These are to my ear....having extracted nuances from natives in numerous conversations where they initially struggle to indicate their own nuances that they learned in immersion from childhood and later in school always from immersion. Affixes are simply instinctive. If you hear alot of LIVE conversations and CLARIFY the context then the cultural nuances become clearER (strong on the ER) within the context of other facts and circumstances surrounding YOUR conversation. Natives give it no thought...pure instinct (the best way to learn but hard for TAGALOG as SECOND language learners to duplicate). Again...to my ear....this is MY starting point for how I CONNECT emotionally with natives because thats how I choose to connect. IF not helpful...connect in your style. Kita kits sa labas. Tagalog is more fun DIN!