# Can functional groups exist by themselves

Just started to study organic compounds and I am curious about functional groups. I want to know if functional groups can exist as molecules themselves.

• By definition, a functional group is a non-carbon atom (or group of atoms) attached to the carbon compound. If the carbon compound isn't there, you wouldn't have an organic molecule.
– LDC3
Oct 1, 2014 at 4:12
• Sorry but some functional groups may contain carbon atom within it. For example keto group, carboxy group etc
– CCR
Oct 1, 2014 at 5:01
• As molecules? The reason a functional group is a group is because it is attached to a molecule. There is no point of saying that a functional group which exists by themselves. Even if miraculously it does, it's high instability would make it highly reactive. I guess you've just started organic, so you'll get to know about all this. Oct 1, 2014 at 11:13
• @Rohin97 why are you critcal about the question. If I knew that functional groups were highly unstable if they existed by themselves I wouldn't have asked the question. But I am not surprised, most comments and answers from individuals on stack-exchange's websites are usually critical, prideful people. But not everyone: thanks Cheran for your answer. Oct 2, 2014 at 1:40

However, there are molecules such as $\ce{NO}$, $\ce{NO2}$ which do have an odd electron in their molecular state, can exist in reasonably large quantities, and can be functional groups in organic chemistry, these are in some sense functional groups that exist as molecules.