This paper extends the theory on capture width, a commonly used performance indicator for a wave energy converter (WEC). The capture width of a linear WEC is shown to depend on two properties: the spectral power fraction (a property introduced in this paper), which depends entirely on the sea state, and the monochromatic capture width, which is determined by the geometry of the WEC and the chosen power take off (PTO) coefficients. Each of these properties is examined in detail. Capture width is shown to be a measure of how well these two properties coincide. A study of the effects of PTO control on the capture width suggests that geometry control, a form of control that has not been the focus of much academic research, despite its use in the wave energy industry, deserves more attention. The distinction between geometry control and PTO control is outlined. While capture width is a valuable design tool, its limitations must be recognised. The assumptions made in the formulation of capture width are listed, and its limitations as a tool for estimating annual power capture of a WEC are discussed.