1
$\begingroup$

Do the letters ol if they are together only indicate the substance is an alcohol if they come together at the end of the name of a substance? for example,is glycerol an alcohol because the letters o and l come together at the end of its name and olives and olive oil are not alcohols because the letters o and l do not come together at the end of any words in their names?

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Yes, the ending ol in a name is a good hint that the compound contains an $\ce{OH}$ group.

However, beware of trivial names:

  • $\alpha$-tocopherol is not an aliphatic alcohol, but a substituted phenol
  • mannitol does not contain one $\ce{OH}$ group, but six of them

It's getting even more confusing if you consider other languages, such as German. Benzol is the German name of benzene, which has no $\ce{OH}$ group at all. The same is true for styrol, the German word for styrene ;-)

$\endgroup$
2
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Gotcha but one thing I do want to get clarified-if the letters o and l are together at any spot in the name of a substance other than at the end of a word in that name,that does not mean that the substance is an alcohol,right (to use my previous examples,that means olives and olive oil are definitely not alcohols,right?) $\endgroup$ – Scott Korman Mar 11 '17 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ Right :) Bisabolen is not an alcohol, geraniol and farnesol are. $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Mar 11 '17 at 11:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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