We begin our study of organic chemistry with the alkanes, compounds containing only two elements, carbon and hydrogen, and having only single bonds. There are several other kinds of hydrocarbons, distinguished by the types of bonding between carbon atoms and by the properties that result from that bonding. We will first examine hydrocarbons with double bonds, with triple bonds, and with a special kind of bonding called aromaticity. Then we will study some compounds considered to be derived from hydrocarbons by replacing one or more hydrogen atoms with an oxygen-containing group. Finally, we focuse on organic acids and bases, after which we will be ready to look at the chemistry of life itself—biochemistry—in the remaining five chapters.