My book says that

Monocyclic substituted hydrocarbons are named as derivatives of benzene or compounds like cumene, toluene, xylene, etc. However, if the substituent introduced into such a compound is identical with the substituent already present in the compound, then the substituted compound is named as tge derivatives of benzene.

But I guess that names like toluene have stayed due to historic reasons and are not accepted in IUPAC nomenclature. Is my book correct?


1 Answer 1


Names like toluene are "retained names".

In chemistry, a retained name is a name for a chemical compound that is recommended for use by a system of chemical nomenclature (for example, IUPAC nomenclature), but that is not fully systematic. - Wikipedia

‘Retained names’ are traditional or common well-established names that may be used either as preferred IUPAC name or as an allowed alternatives in general nomenclature, for example, naphthalene, benzoic acid and pyridine. IUPAC's Blue book, P-12.3

Later in the same draft, we read

Toluene, xylene and mesitylene are specific parent hydrides that are composed of two components, one cyclic and the other acyclic and saturated. These names are retained due to a long and well established tradition. Toluene and xylene are preferred IUPAC names, but are not substitutable; toluene is substitutable under certain conditions for general nomenclature. P-22.1.3

Furthermore, anisole and toluene cannot be substituted by other methoxy or methyl groups, respectively. P-


  • Names like toluene, anisole and xylene are retained names. They are preserved for historical reasons; however, their unsubstituted forms are PINs (Preferred IUPAC names).
  • The name 3,5-diethyl toluene isn't acceptable according to the systematic IUPAC nomenclature.
  • If you want to name the compound below, it's called 1,3-diethyl-5-methylbenzene.



Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.