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The nouns logicalness, logicity and logicality are all related to the noun logic.

  • Is there a grammatical term that describes these "-ness", "-ity" ... words?
  • Are these actual English words one can use? Wiktionary has pages for them, but I've never heard them used. Are there differences? Did I miss any others?

As mentioned in the comments, the meaning I'm after is "the degree to which something pertains to logic". The same questions can be posed of derivatives of "chronology": for example, if I have a sequence of events and I reorder them so as to make them chronological, did I enforce the chronologicalness, chronologicity, or chronologicality of the sequence?

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    The derivational suffixes -ness, -ity, and -ality get attached to roots and stems to form abstract nouns. Logic is itself an abstract noun, and it's not clear what the words you cite might mean, nor why anybody would use them. It turns out that derivational morphemes like these can only go on some, not all, stems and roots, and each suffix has its own list. So basically none of these words exist in the sense of being used by English speakers with a meaning, any more than *sisterness, *boxity, or *eatology do. It's not a random thing. Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 15:30
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    The full (subscription-only) OED doesn't list logicity, but it has separate entries for logicalness (one citation, 1727) and logicality (three citations, most recent 1873) - both with exactly the same definition (The quality of being logical). But I agree with John that they're all unnecessary, and probably best avoided. Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 16:02
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    Adding on to what @JackO'Flaherty says, I'll note that searching Google Books yields many modern uses for both "logicality" and "logicalness". Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 16:24
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    @tchrist I think 'derived from' is a transitive relation.
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 20:16
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    As others and I like to say here, not all legitmate (whatever that means) words are in dictionaries. These suffixes are productive (whatever that means) to make understandable and acceptable words (whatever that means) that have never been uttered before. But some affixes sound better with some roots and others with others, there are some guidelines but you know (whatever that means (whatever that means)).
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 20:23

2 Answers 2

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Logicalness, logicity, and logicality are abstract nouns formed by applying a suffix to the noun logic or the adjective logical. (The process of adding this suffix is suffixation. That word will be relevant in a moment.)

You can use these words, but they're rare and the main difference is relative rarity. Both logicalness and logicality are in the Oxford English Dictionary. Both definitions are the same:

the quality of being logical

These are rare words (frequency band 2 and 3 out of 8, respectively). An NGram illustrates the rarity as compared with a similar jargony word from linguistics, suffixation:

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Combing through the most recent results, all three appear to be primarily academic in the corpus. These aren't terms showing up in many popular novels:

  • logicalness is a technical, academic word appearing most often in scholarly monographs or journals (Google Books)
  • logicity is even rarer, also technical/academic, and usually associated with the work of thinkers like Theodor Adorno or Jacques Derrida (Google Books)
  • logicality is also a technical, academic word, though it seems to appear in broader academic contexts, including literary criticism (Google Books)

I switched up my approach to see if there were any differences in use outside of academia. Comparing between specific examples searching for news sites (via the English Corpora NOW corpus) gives only one accessible result for logicalness, in the context of critical pedagogy:

For instance, the intellectual standards include fairness, depth, accuracy, clarity and logicalness. (Ben Harley and Mays Imad, "5 Essential Ways of Knowing." Inside Higher Ed, 10 August 2022.)

Logicity has 4 results, but all referred to a proper noun and not the usage you're asking for.

Logicality has 54 results across a wider range of publications, including this example of non-academic usage from MarketWatch:

Prince Philip applied a military (or perhaps naval) logicality to all he did. (Hugo Vickers. "Prince Philip - active patron of business organizations and consort to Queen Elizabeth II: Obituary." MarketWatch, 9 April 2021)

Just in terms of general intelligibility, if you wanted to use these words, logicality is the most popular and likely the most recognizable outside an academic context. It's still a fancy, rare word.

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"(T)he degree to which something pertains to logic".

This is most of the problem. Logic isn't gradable - something is logical or it isn't, there are no degrees of logicalness. Something with 20 steps, 19 of which are logical, is illogical as a whole. It may start out logical, but it becomes illogical at some point. So there isn't an attribute for degree of logicalness.

Chronology has a related problem. A set of events do not possess a chronology attribute. Chronology is as perceived by an observer. It may differ from one observer to another. And a set of observations either are chronological or they aren't. It is difficult to imagine a situation or general meaning where degree of chronologicalness is a useful idea.

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  • But fullness isn't gradable either, and yet we happily use phrases such as 'more/less full than' and 'very/quite full'. I'd not worry too much about a conclusion which has 19 logical supporting arguments and 1 that logical arguments can't [yet] be used to explain being termed more logical than one where the ratio is 10 : 10. Commented Apr 13 at 11:16
  • Phil, the gradability is a moot point, because as I wrote in my question, all I'm asking for is a noun that describes a property. That property can be boolean: let's say there is no degree of being chronological, and that it is just a yes-or-no. Now I sort a sequence of events so that they are chronological. What single-word property have I just enforced in the sequence? The chronologic--- of the sequence.
    – Mew
    Commented Apr 13 at 11:46
  • Being logical is a yes-or-no matter if by logical one means deductively valid. The OP is, however, asking about the derivatives of logical in the sense of pertaining to logic, and something can partially pertain to logic, and partially to something else.
    – jsw29
    Commented Apr 13 at 20:27

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