Chemguide: Support for CIE A level Chemistry

Learning outcome 13

13.1: Formulae, functional groups and the naming of organic compounds

Statement 13.1.5

This is another really important statement. You have to be able to name the simple molecules you will come across and, more importantly, be able to draw a structure from a given name. If an exam asks you about a named compound, and you can't draw its structure, you almost certainly can't do the question.

Naming organic compounds

You should read the page Understanding the names of organic compounds as far as the end of the section about alcohols.

Take your time over this, and make sure that you understand it. This is one of the major hurdles in organic chemistry. It isn't difficult, but it takes time.

The page I have suggested is the first of three about organic names, and these will cover all the names that you will need for the CIE syllabus. But don't go beyond the end of the alcohols on the first page for now.

If you take your time over reading this first bit, you will have a good understanding of how organic names work.

If you try to work through all the names of all the different compounds that you will come across during the rest of the course, you will just get confused.

Once you have understood how naming works, it is easy to add another sort of compound as you come across it later on. You can always refer back to these pages again later if you need to. It is really important for your confidence that you don't try to do too much too soon.

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© Jim Clark 2020