Nomenclature of Carbon Compounds

Nomenclature of Carbon Compounds

The names of compounds in a homologous series are based on the name of the basic carbon chain modified by a “prefix” “phrase before” or “suffix” “phrase after” indicating the nature of the functional group. For example, the names of the alcohols are methanol, ethanol, propanol and butanol.


Naming a carbon compound can be done by the following method –

(i) Identify the number of carbon atoms in the compound. A compound having three carbon atoms would have the name propane.

(ii) In case a functional group is present, it is indicated in the name of the compound with either a prefix or a suffix.

(iii) If the name of the functional group is to be given as a suffix, and the suffix of the functional group begins with a vowel a, e, I, o, u, then the name of the carbon chain is modified by deleting the final ‘e’ and adding the appropriate suffix. For example, a three-carbon chain with a ketone group would be named in the following manner –
Propane – ‘e’ = propan + ‘one’ = propanone.

(iv) If the carbon chain is unsaturated, then the final ‘ane’ in the name of the carbon chain is substituted by ‘one’ or ‘one’ as given in Table. For example, a three-carbon chain with a double bond would be called propene and if it has a triple bond, it would be called propyne.

Table – Nomenclature of organic compounds

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