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My teacher said that Propan-1-ol can also be written as Propanol in latest IUPAC nomenclature. I doubt this because wikipedea mentions only Propan-1-ol in IUPAC naming and Propanol in other names.


Similarly But-1-ene can be written as Butene and so on other similar organic compounds.

Could you provide me some reference which would clearly mention that Propanol is not the correct IUPAC name.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The last IUPAC nomenclature recommendations were published in 1993. The current draft documents (release date uncertain) are far more lenient in their acceptance of semi-systematic naming of molecules. Please make sure you understand the differences between the Preferred IUPAC Name (PIN), the retained name, and trivial name.

Propanol is not be the preferred IUPAC name, but significantly, neither is it listed in the tables of Trivial and semisystematic names retained for naming organic compounds. It is, however, a widely accepted name for this chemical, and you are far more likely to encounter propanol in industry than propan-1-ol. Nobody uses propan-1-ol in the real world, even if it is the preferred IUPAC systematic name.

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If the question in the exam asks: Write the IUPAC name of !im. I answer the question: Propanol, would the answer be technically correct ? –  user31782 Jul 25 '14 at 4:09
From IUPAC Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry page : Any name other than a preferred IUPAC name, as long as it is unambiguous and follows the principles of the IUPAC recommendations herein, is acceptable as a ‘general’ IUPAC name, in the context of ‘general’ IUPAC nomenclature. So, perhaps the question is poorly worded, and should read "what is the preferred IUPAC name". –  long Jul 25 '14 at 4:52
This is a question that you need to discuss with your teacher. Can it be argued that propanol is unambiguous? Perhaps there is an assumption that substitution is at the one position. If I were marking the exam, and it was testing knowledge of IUPAC nomenclature, I would give you 1 mark for propan-1-ol, and half a mark for answering propanol, n-propanol or propyl alcohol. –  long Jul 25 '14 at 4:56
You mean there are two types of IUPAC nomenclature: Gen. IUPAC nom. and Preferred IUPAC num.. I didn't know that. Moreover our book only mentions it as IUPAC nomenclature; no general, no preferred. May be the book isn't perfect. Anyways I got your point. Thank you. –  user31782 Jul 25 '14 at 10:07
I think the distinction is between systematic nomenclature and nomenclature that is accepted because everyone uses it. I'm not a professional chemist, but if people know what you mean when you say propanol then it's okay to use it. If you're teacher is testing you specifically on nomenclature, it might be best to stick to the systematic method unless otherwise directed (as with benzene, for example). –  canadianer Jul 26 '14 at 4:37

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