Both of these suffixes are added to nouns to make an adjective that denotes that something has the qualities of the noun, e.g.


역사 history → 역사적(이다) historical
세계 world → 세계적(이다) worldwide
전통 tradition → 전통적(이다) traditional


사랑 love → 사랑스럽다 = lovely
자연 nature → 자연스럽다 = natural

Are there any rules or guidelines as to which ending to use? Are there any words with which you can use either ending?

1 Answer 1


I see that you quoted the examples from this site:


If you look at the wordings in detail, it already explained that you CANNOT identify which one, 적 or 스럽다 can be used if you never met that word.

However, there is one characteristic for 적이다/적으로. 적 is the hangul of 的, which is a possessive particle in Chinese. So the word before 적 has to be originated from hanja.

Example: 세계적(世界的), 전통적(傳統的), 역사적(歷史的), 일반적(一般的)

There are of course exceptions for hanja characters, namely 자연(自然)스럽다, 실망(失望)스럽다, 만족(滿足)스럽다

But this confusion only happens in Hanja originated words, for non-hanja words, you could only use 스럽다 and never 적이다.

Example: 사랑스럽다, 자랑스럽다, 짐스럽다

I don't think there are any words which can be added both endings. If you see one, just memorize it.

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