Common names of organic compounds

Common nomenclature

In the common system, cyanides are named by any of the following methods:

(i) By using suffix cyanide after the name of alkyl and aryl group.


(ii) By adding the suffix o-nitrile in place of ic - acid in the common name of the corresponding acid produced by the hydrolysis of the cyanide compound.

For e.g., CH3 CN on hydrolysis gives CH3 COOH i.e., acetic acid.

So the common name of the compound is methyl cyanide or Acetonitrile as derived from acetic acid.

IUPAC nomenclature

In the IUPAC system, suffix nitrile is added to the name of the hydrocarbon atoms ie they are named as Alkanenitriles. The carbon atom of the -CN group is also counted in the parent chain. For determining the position of the substituent in a chain, the nitrile carbon is numbered as 1.


IUPAC and common name of nitriles

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