Should I write propanol or propan-1-ol?

Personally, I'd go for the former (it being the simpler of the two), but what's the answer according to the IUPAC system of organic nomenclature?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ "Propanol" is ambiguous. $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2018 at 7:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Propanol can refer to either propan-1-ol or propan-2-ol. This is why Neretin pointed out propanol as "ambiguous". $\endgroup$
    – DJ Koustav
    Jan 11, 2018 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


Propanol can refer to both propan-1-ol and propan-2-ol. propan-1-ol propan-2-ol

Earlier we used notations like 1-propanol or 2-propanol. But according to latest IUPAC recommendations, we prefer names like propan-1-ol and propan-2-ol.

For compounds like aldehydes, carboxylic acids and for other compounds involving carbon centered functional groups, we need not mention position because we always consider the carbon of these functional groups as the 1 carbon.

But, for alcohols, as in this case, position should be mentioned for being more specific.

  • $\begingroup$ "Carbon centered functional groups" is misleading. Ketones for example definitively need a position specifier, except acetone and butanone. It's just that aldehydes and acids only have one bond free to start an alkyl chain. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Feb 3, 2019 at 13:31

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