I remarked that some words can be modified by adding a 성 ending. For example, 필요 which means 'need' can be modified to 퍌요성, which stands for 'necessity'. Also, we have 가능 'possible' and 가능성 'possibility'. It should be noted that these two examples indicate the status of something.

Is there a grammar rule that explains the change of a name N into this N성? And if so, what changes in meaning does it convey?

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    성(性) is originated from Chinese, meaning "characteristics".
    – user237
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


성 comes from the hanja 性, as in '성질', '성격', '성향', '성능', '성품', '성깔', etc. Added after some nouns, it means "the properties/nature/quality/character of that noun". For example, 순수 means "purity", 순수성 means "the pure nature".

물의 순수성을 모르는 사람은 아무도 없다. There's no one who doesn't know about the pure nature of water.

which is roughly eqivalent to

물이 순수하다는 것을 모르는 사람은 아무도 없다. There's no one who doesn't know that water is pure.

물의 순수를 모르는 사람은 아무도 없다 -> This sounds a little bit off.

Other examples:

신축성 elasticity
양면성 double-sidedness
인간성 human nature
잔인성 brutality
적극성 willingness
정확성 accuracy

It can also be attached to some native words:

먹성 appetite
참을성 patience
붙임성 sociability

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