Is it necessary for a chain of compound to have a functional group or they can be named without a functional group?I know that the longest continous chain must be selected for naming ,but I found a quote which was saying that the longest chain with afunctional group ,"if present" must be chosen to be named it confused me about the necessity of functional group?

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    $\begingroup$ What would you think will happen if you try to name a compound without any functional groups (BTW, yes, such compounds do exist)? Will the world go down with error 500? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ I personally not aware of such compounds and I think it would be difficult to name a compound without a functional group $\endgroup$
    – Rabik John
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 12:23
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    $\begingroup$ On the contrary, this is by far the easiest case, hence all textbooks start with it. Are you reading yours from the middle? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ No ,this topic is not included in my textbook ,I find a quote in my mcqs book $\endgroup$
    – Rabik John
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


What it means is that, if you have a compound like this:

enter image description here

You must name it as


taking the chain having $\ce{-OH}$ instead of


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    $\begingroup$ To add to this answer (+1): if a compound does not have any functional group, just don't worry about its absence, and take the longest possible carbon chain. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ The alternative name "4-(1'-hydroxypropyl)nonane" is not correct. Even if you would not express the $\ce{-OH}$ group as a suffix, it would still be "3-hydroxy-4-propylnonane". $\endgroup$
    – Loong
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 20:50

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