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Chemistry LibreTexts

5.6: Nomenclature n- Naming Compounds

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  • Nomenclature is the process of naming chemical compounds with different names so that they can be easily identified as separate chemicals. The primary function of chemical nomenclature is to ensure that a spoken or written chemical name leaves no ambiguity concerning which chemical compound the name refers to: each chemical name should refer to a single substance. A less important aim is to ensure that each substance has a single name, although a limited number of alternative names is acceptable in some cases. Preferably, the name also conveys some information about the structure or chemistry of a compound. A common name will often suffice to identify a chemical compound in a particular set of circumstances. To be more generally applicable, the name should indicate at least the chemical formula. To be more specific still, the three-dimensional arrangement of the atoms may need to be specified.