After completing this section, you should be able to write a general mechanism for an alpha‑substitution reaction of a carbonyl compound.
Make certain that you can define, and use in context, the key terms below.
- alpha (α) position
- alpha‑substitution reaction
An “alpha‑substitution reaction” of a carbonyl compound is a reaction in which one of the hydrogen atoms on the carbon adjacent to the carbonyl group is substituted by some other atom or group. Attack by the electrophile (E+) can occur on the enol or enolate intermediate.