Analía Bellizzi – Chemistry Classes

Ronald Reagan Senior High School

Naming Organic Compounds

The names of simple organic compounds are composed of two parts –

  • prefix which comes from the number of carbon atoms in the longest straight chain in the molecule
    (See table 1 = PREFIXES)
  • 2) A suffix which shows the functional group that specifies which type of different organic compound it is


  •  Any compound with
  • 1 carbon has the prefix of: Meth
  • 2 carbons: Eth
  • 3 carbons: Prop
  • 4 carbons: But

Remember the first 4 prefixes using MEPB Monkeys Eat Peanut Butter

Suffixes(they depend on the functional group)

The suffix of any compound refers to the functional group

  • Alkanes –ane (C-C) e.g. ethane
  • Alkenes –ene (C=C) e.g. ethene
  • Alcohols –ol (OH) e.g. ethanol
  • Carboxylic acids –anoic acid (-COOH) e.g. ethanoic acid

Functional Groups Table




Carboxylic Acids


Esters are compounds formed by the reaction of a carboxylic acid with an alcohol, the carboxylic acid loses the hydrogen next to the acid group and it is replaced by the alkyl group of the alcohol.

Naming esters:

Alcohol root – acid-ate

Examples below give all the possible combinations in your Cambridge Exam

Esters with Methanoic acid: 

Esters with Ethanoic acid: 

Esters with propanoic acid: