Chemguide: Support for CIE A level Chemistry


Learning outcome 20.2(a)

This statement is about the formation of amides from the reactions between acyl chlorides and ammonia or primary amines.

Before you go on, you should find and read the statement in your copy of the syllabus.


This statement will only be examined in the final exam of a two year course.


Important background

Start by reading the page introducing amides.


Making amides from an acyl chloride

Read the page the reaction of acyl chlorides with ammonia and primary amines.

In the first instance, stop when you get to the end of the section about the reaction of an acyl chloride with ammonia. You will need to know the overall equation for the reaction. Make sure you understand the formation of simple amides like ethanamide before you go on to the rest of the page.

Now continue to the reactions with methylamine and phenylamine to produce N-substituted amides.

My feeling is that you are more likely to be asked about the formation of these than about simple amides. You must expect to be given a formula for a complicated molecule which may contain one or more amino groups. You will then be asked to draw the structure of the product after reaction with ethanoyl chloride.

Provided you understand what is happening with methylamine or phenylamine, there is no real problem about this, even though the molecules look more scary. All you are doing is replacing a hydrogen atom in the amine by a CH3CO group.

If you have more than one amino group in your molecule, you mustn't forget to do this with all of them.


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© Jim Clark 2011 (last modified June 2014)