Nomenclature of Organic Compounds/Esters - ChemPRIME

Nomenclature of Organic Compounds/Esters

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Family Priority Structure Prefix Suffix
Esters 2 oxycarbonyl- alkyl- -oate

For more information on esters, please see CoreChem:Esters.

Two important components of an ester must be identified before the compound can be named. An alcohol and carboxylic acid participate in a condensation reaction in order to form the ester and retain two separate R groups. The R group from the carboxylic acid is bonded to two oxygen atoms, while the R group from the alcohol is bonded to only one oxygen atom.

The resulting ester's name contains two components, one from each R-group. The R-group from the alcohol comes first and is referred to with the same procedure as an alkyl group. The second and separate word comes from the carboxylic acid's R group, and contains the prefix designating the number of carbons in the chain, as well as the suffix "-oate".

For example, consider the ester formed by the condensation reaction of propanol and butanoic acid. The R group of the alcohol, propanol, is designated by the term "Propyl", and the R group of the carboxylic acid, butanoic acid, is designated by the term "butanoate". Thus, the name of the ester is "propyl butanoate".


Name the following organic compounds.

a) b)

Name the esters produced from the reaction of the following compounds.

d) e)


a) Methyl propanoate

b) Propyl propanoate

c) Be careful of where the alcohol and carboxylic acid groups are oriented in this picture - Butyl methanoate

d) Propyl ethanoate

e) Ethyl pentanoate

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