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Acyclic Ethers:

There are two types of ethers: acyclic and cyclic. This section will cover acyclic. For cyclic, click here.


Ethers are R-O-R'. The RO- is called the alkoxy group.

When you name alkoxides, replace the -ide with -y. For example, the C2H5 group is known as an ethyl- group. However, the C2H5O group is known as the ethoxy- group. Below is a table with the most common oxy- groups you'll find.

Formula Functional Group Name
CH3O methoxy-
C2H5O ethoxy-
C3H7O propoxy-
C4H9O butoxy-
C5H11O pentoxy-

Naming substituents in ethers

neth1.gif (1000 bytes)

The longest parent chain is the ethane group. Thus the methyoxy- becomes the substituent group. Hence, the name of this molecule is methyoxyethane. Try this molecule:

neth2.gif (1138 bytes)

The parent chain will be the cyclohexane group. We have an ethyoxy group, so we get a ethyoxycyclohexane.

If you're wondering how the ethers come in terms of functional group precedence, check this table.

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