Converting Names to Structures
Converting an organic name to a structure is relatively easy. Work from the back of the name
towards the front.
First, identify the longest chain and principle functional group. Add numbers to the main chain,
then attach the various substituents.
The secret is working from the back of the name.
This is a simple structure that contains no substituents. Start with the prefix of the main chain
“non”. This prefix indicates that there are nine carbons in the chain.
Use the suffix to identify the functional group. The suffix is “ane” showing that only sp carbons
are present. The structure is complete.
Start by identifying the parent chain. The last chain listed is “decane”. From this name we know
that there are 10 carbons in the chain (dec) and no functional groups (ane).
Number the carbon chain so you know where to attach substituents.
2 4 6 8 10
1 3 5 7 9
Now attach the substituents. The name indicates there is a two-carbon group (ethyl) at position 7,
two one-carbon groups (dimethyl) at positions 3 and 6, and a three-carbon-group (propyl) at
1 By examination, the parent chain is “octan-3-ol”. To construct this, begin with an 8-carbon chain
(octan), and number the carbons.
2 4 6 8
1 3 5 7
The “-3-ol” tells us there is an OH group at position 3.
2 4 6 8
1 5 7
This completes the parent chain. Ad