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If I understand everything correctly, carboxylic acids behave like acids because oxygen is much more electronegative than hydrogen, so it takes his electron and releases H+. The problem is that alcohols have an OH group too, so why don't they behave like acids?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

The figure below illustrates these two ionization reactions. The key difference between the two is that when the carboxylic ionizes the carboxylate anion is formed. The carboxylate anion is much more stable than the alkoxide anion formed when the alcohol ionizes. The carboxylate anion is much more stable because we can draw resonance structures to describe it. This resonance stabilization of the carboxylate anion explains why carboxylic acids are so much more acidic than an alcohol.

enter image description here

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