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I was wondering about this specific scenario:
If you have a cyclohexane, for example, and the cyclohexane has two consecutive substituent groups, for example a methyl group and an ethyl group, how do you decide where the numbering starts?
Would it be 1-ethyl-2-methylcyclohexane or would it be 2-ethyl-1-methylcyclohexane? Whoever answers this, could you just give some sort of general rules on what to do in this situation (e.g. does it follow alphabetical order, etc.)?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

If the numerical sequence of locants is equivalent, the numbering should be assigned to correspond with alphabetical order. Hence, in your example, correct would be 1-ethyl-2-methylcyclohexane. Quoting the IUPAC Blue Book, Rule A-2.4:

If two or more side chains are in equivalent positions, the one to be assigned the lower number is that cited first in the name.

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Thank you so much. That clears up everything – Nima Aug 20 '14 at 21:13
@Nima, no problem, glad it helped. – Greg E. Aug 20 '14 at 21:14
Please note that the link leads to obsolete IUPAC recommendations of 1979. – Loong Aug 16 '15 at 18:20

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