I know that a functional group gives definitive property to an organic compund. But my text book claims carboxylic acid is a functional group but isnt carboxyl the functional group with a formula -COOH , is the text book wrong or am i missing something? And similarly isnt hydroxyl the functional group of alcohols rather than alcohol being the functional group. Could you please clear this out ?

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    $\begingroup$ You are right, -COOH is a functional group and carboxylic acid is a compound. Likewise, -OH is a functional group and alcohol is a compound. If the book says otherwise, don't trust the book. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Mar 9 '17 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretin Thank you so much for the answer , if i attatch an image of the text , could you clarify whether or not the book is wrong ? $\endgroup$ – Anamika Ghosh Mar 9 '17 at 11:39
  • $\begingroup$ If you would like to clarify what your book writes, consider rewriting the passage as text and adding a full citation to the book for context and reference. You can then also tag the question erratum. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Mar 9 '17 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ it says carboxylic acids are functional groups with formula -COOH but a google search showed that functional group is called carboxyl and group of compounds is called carboxylic acids, am i right ? $\endgroup$ – Anamika Ghosh Mar 9 '17 at 12:42

Your books statement that "carboxylic acid is a functional group" doesn't seem quite right to me. I think it's better to say that a carboxylic acid is an organic molecule containing a carboxyl functional group.

Similarly, I wouldn't say that an alcohol is a functional group, but that an organic molecule containing a hydroxyl group is an alcohol.

Of course you can have single large molecules with multiple functional groups that could be called, at once, for example, an alcohol, a ketone and a carboxylic acid, because it contains a hydroxyl functionality, a carbonyl functionality and a carboxyl functionality.

I hope this addresses what you were asking, don't hesitate to ask if I missed something.

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Carboxyl, hydroxy, chloro, amino etc are prefixes which represent the functional group used. They are standard 'PREFIXES', note that, and not the functional groups themselves. They represent the functional group in the compound while naming.

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  • $\begingroup$ as my question stated , is -COOH a carboxylic acid or is it a carboxyl group which makes the compound formed a carboxylic acid . Moreover my textbook claims that carboxylic acid is a functional group with formula -COOH , i dont think this is right because a -COOH group is a carboxyl functional group $\endgroup$ – Anamika Ghosh Mar 9 '17 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ Carboxylic acid - Functional group; Carboxy - Prefix of FG $\endgroup$ – Aaron John Sabu Mar 9 '17 at 12:00
  • $\begingroup$ what is the difference between carboxyl and carboxy and does it mean carboxylic acid is not the name of the homologous series of compounds that have the -COOH (carboxyl group) attached to it ? $\endgroup$ – Anamika Ghosh Mar 9 '17 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ Carboxylic acid is something similar to the term 'alcohol', whereas carboxy stands a counterpart to 'hydroxy'. Carboxylic acid is something similar to the term 'haloalkane', whereas carboxy stands a counterpart to 'halo-'. $\endgroup$ – Aaron John Sabu Mar 9 '17 at 16:10

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