Coupon Accepted Successfully!


IUPAC Nomenclature

The following rules are followed in naming a carbon compound:

  1. The number of carbon atoms in the compound has to be identified. If it contains one carbon atom it is called methane, two carbon atoms ethane and so on.
  2. If the carbon chain is unsatured the suffix 'ane' is replaced by 'ene' or 'yne'. For example ethane is replaced as ethene when it has double bond and ethyne when it has triple bond.
  3. If a functional group is present, it is indicated in the name of the compound with either a prefix or a suffix.
  1. If the name of the functional group is to give a suffix as in the case of a ketone group, the last letter 'e' is replaced with the functional name.

Nomenclature for Monohydric Alcohols

Simple alcohols are named as derivatives of the parent alkane. The following rules may be kept in mind while naming an alcohol.
  1. The longest carbon chain containing the hydroxyl substituent is selected and the parent name is derived by replacing the -e ending of the corresponding alkane with -ol.
  2. The alkane chain is numbered at the end near the hydroxyl substituent.
  3. Substituents are numbered according to their position on the chain and the name is written, listing the substituents in alphabetical order. 

The following table includes the IUPAC names along with common names of a few alcohols.

Common and IUPAC names of a Few Alcohols

Alcohol  Common name IUPAC name
CH3OH Methyl alcohol Methanol
CH3CH2OH   Ethyl alcohol Ethanol
CH3CH2CH2OH n-Propyl alcohol Propan-1-ol
CH3CH(OH)CH3  Isopropyl alcohol Propan-2-ol
CH3CH2CH2CH2OH n-Butyl alcohol Butan-1-ol
CH3CH2CH(OH)CH3 sec-Butyl alcohol Butan-2-ol

Snomenclature of Organic Acids

The carboxylic acids are named after the corresponding alkane containing the same number of carbon atoms, by substituting the last letter 'e' of the corresponding alkane by 'oic' acid. Thus HCOOH is methanoic acid as it contains one carbon atom and the corresponding alkane is methane (CH4). The following table lists the formulae and names of the first four members of the homologous acids.


Alkanoic Acids

Formulae of Acids

Corresponding Alkane


Common Name



Methanoic Acid

Formic Acid



Ethanoic Acid

Acetic Acid



Propanoic Acid

Propionic Acid



Butanoic Acid

Butyric Acid

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name