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Something like 'Optionality' or 'Ordinality'? (It's similar in kind to the words "Arity" and "Cardinality")

Example: "Fred listed the XXXity of each parameter, noting whether it was optional or mandatory"

Follow-up question: What part of speech is this?

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Optionality is obviously a noun (you are even using it with a definite article in your example) and is included as such in several dictionaries (Wiktionary, Merriam-Webster, Collins). And in fact some dictionaries have a dedicated entry for the suffix -ity. –  RegDwigнt Apr 4 '13 at 10:16
    
I see - as in "noun referring to a state or quality"... so there isn't a specific word for this? –  Richard Inglis Apr 4 '13 at 10:32
    
How about 'Necessity'? Does a thesaurus help? –  Mitch Apr 4 '13 at 12:00
    
Are looking for a part of speech more refined than 'noun'? You're looking for an abstract concept but there's nothing grammatically special about that. –  Mitch Apr 4 '13 at 12:03

2 Answers 2

There are a few recently contrived words that try to do this; optionality is indeed used from time to time, and I've seen things like mandatoriness too. But actually there are some more established words that do the same job.

Of course, optional-ness is actually binary - something is either optional or mandatory. Therefore the quality of optionality/optional-ness is actually the same as the quality of mandatory-ness or compulsory-ness, just with the polarity reversed.

All of which is a fairly long winded way for me to get around to saying this:

I think the word you're looking for is the noun, necessity.

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+1 for necessity –  Canis Lupus Apr 4 '13 at 12:12

It appears that Ordinality is used in this sense (even though it has a more normal meaning of 'ordering'). Maybe this is verging on jargon.

For example: "Ordinality is a property that indicates whether an entity instance is mandatory"

(from: 'Oracle SQL and Pl/SQL Handbook: A Guide for Data Administrators, Developers')

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Naming of database properties isn't always a guide to good English usage. –  DJClayworth Apr 4 '13 at 16:55
    
Agreed, but in this case the context happened to be appropriate :) –  Richard Inglis Apr 4 '13 at 21:50

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