Beginning Organic Chemistry (BOC)
6. Nomenclature Basics.

Return to BOC Index. | Common Names. | Primary/Secondary etc.

A shocking fact!

Many organic compounds have more than one name!

Although it might seem to you that this is a hurdle put in deliberately to make learning organic chemistry more difficult, it is in fact a feature of the historical development of the subject.

At first, many compounds were named according to their natural source. This still occurs today, mainly to give short names to complex molecules.

As the number of organic compounds grew, and the chemical families were recognised, simple systems were introduced.

Finally a system to enable the systematic naming of any compound, the IUPAC system, was introduced.

Compounds named before the IUPAC system are often referred to by their non-IUPAC, or common name even though they may have a simple IUPAC name. Therefore it is necessary often to recognise two (or more) names for the same compound.

A few compounds with their common and IUPAC names are listed here

The IUPAC Nomenclature System.

I have written an extensive tutorial on the IUPAC nomenclature system. Please use this tutorial as your main source of information. For a start use the following pages:

The IUPAC Systematic Approach to Nomenclature

The 'How' and the 'Why'
The Root Names

The Alkanes

Unbranched Alkanes.
Branched Alkanes.

Date created: 2005 06 11.