Functional Groups in Organic chemistry

A functional group is an essential moiety in organic chemistry that causes the molecule’s unique chemical reactions. Regardless of the molecule’s remaining structure, the identical functional group will undergo the same chemical modifications. The reactivity of a functional moiety can be affected by its neighbors. It allows for the systematic analysis of chemical processes, chemical substance activities, and chemical synthesis progression.

Alpha carbon is the first carbon atom connected to the functional group; beta carbon is the second; gamma carbon is the third. A functional group can also be classified as 1o, 2o, or 3o depending on whether it is linked to 1, 2, or 3 carbon atoms. Hydroxyl, ether, ketone, amides, and amine are examples of functional groups.

Common functional group nomenclature

The functional group of an organic compound is first identified, which leads to the proper suffix. The longest carbon chain with the functional group is then picked, with the functional group receiving the lowest number in the chain. 


Hydrocarbons contain carbon and hydrogen atoms, and such groups are sometimes known as hydrocarbyl groups. However, the types of bonds between two carbon atoms, including double and triple bonds, may differ. Because of the structure of the carbon-carbon bond, the reactivity of these groups varies. A long, branched alkane or a ring-structured alkane make up some groups, each with its name. Bornyl and cyclohexyl are two examples of such compounds. The hydrocarbon functional groups may have an ionic charge. Carbocations refer to positively charged structures, whereas carbanions refer to negatively charged hydrocarbons.


  • Alkane – Methane (CH4)
  • Alkene – Ethene


Haloalkanes are functional groups in which a carbon atom and a halogen share a bond. The prefix ‘halo-‘ is used to denote a halogen. The chemical CH3F, for instance, can be referred to as fluoromethane, with fluoro being the prefix. The strength and stability of the carbon-halogen bond depend on the halogen. Alkyl iodides, for instance, have a weak carbon-iodine connection. Still, alkyl fluorides have a stable and robust carbon-fluorine bond, and all alkyl halides, except for certain alkyl fluorides, readily perform nucleophilic substitution and elimination reactions.


  • Ethyl bromide (CH3CH2Br)
  • Methyl chloride (CH3Cl)


Ether is an organic molecule composed of an oxygen atom connected to two aryl or alkyl groups, which might be the same or different. Ethers have the generic formula R-O-R, Ar-O-Ar or R-O-Ar where

  • R denotes an alkyl group
  • Ar represents an aryl group

Symmetrical ethers, when two identical groups are connected to the oxygen atom and asymmetrical ethers when two different groups are attached to the oxygen atom, are the two types of ethers.


  • CH3 – CH2 – O – CH2 – CH3 (Diethyl ether)
  • CH3 – O – CH2 – CH3 (Ethyl methyl ether)


Functional groups are atom groupings inside molecules with structural properties independent of the other atoms in the compound. Examples include alcohol, amines, carboxylic acids, ethers, aldehydes, and ketones.

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