Naming organic molecules

A special method exists in naming organic compounds. When faced with having to name an organic molecule we follow the steps below.

Step 1 We identify the longest carbon chain in the molecule. The example on the right has butane as the longest carbon chain.

Step 2 We number each carbon atom in the chain so that the substituents are linked to the lowest numbered carbon atoms.

Step 3 Name, as prefixes, the alkyl and or halide groups. In the example on the right we have 3 methyl groups coming off the butane.

Step 4 If the same substituent group appears more than once prefixes such as "di" for 2 or "tri" for 3 are used. In the example on the right we have

Step 5 If more than one substituent group appears it is placed in the name in alphabetical order. For example if butane had a chlorine(chloro) atom on carbon number 1, a methyl group and fluorine(fluoro) atom on carbon number 2 then the name would be written as 1-chloro-2-fluoro-2-methylbutane.

Rules for punctuation:

1. Commas are used to separate numbers. For example, the numbers 2 4 5 become 2,4,5

2. Hyphens(-) are to separate a number from word. For example 2,3 dichloropropane becomes 2,3-dichloropropane.

3. No space between words. For example trichloro butane becomes trichlorobutane.

This generates a one word name for each compound.


Continue with haloalkanes
Continue with double C=C bonds

Continue with alkynes

Continue with alcohols
Continue with carboxylic acids
Continue with amines
Continue with aldehydes and ketones.
Continue with naming primary amides
Continue with compounds with more than one functional group