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Chemistry LibreTexts

Reactivity of Alcohols

The functional group of the alcohols is the hydroxyl group, –OH. Unlike the alkyl halides, this group has two reactive covalent bonds, the C–O bond and the O–H bond. The electronegativity of oxygen is substantially greater than that of carbon and hydrogen. Consequently, the covalent bonds of this functional group are polarized so that oxygen is electron rich and both carbon and hydrogen are electrophilic.