Nomenclature of Organic Compounds
Learning Outcomes
On completing these problems you should be able to:
 • Draw the structures of moderately complex organic molecules from the IUPAC name.
 • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of organic nomenclature.

Because the number of known organic structures runs to many millions, and the number of possible structures is infinite, a sophisticated nomenclature system that is capable of naming structures unambiguously is needed.   The most widely used system of nomenclature is that formulated by the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry, usually called the IUPAC system.   Although software is increasingly used both to assign names to structures and to derive structures from names, it is still important that chemists be able to understand IUPAC names.

On this page you can learn about the nomenclature of organic compounds by drawing structures corresponding to IUPAC names.

Set your own goals to suit your learning needs, but one measure of completing the section would be to achieve a score (below right, in green) of at least 40 points from 50 for five "Difficult" problems from the "All functional groups" category.   Note that 3 points are deducted for each incorrect answer, and your score will be reset to zero if you reload the page.

How To Use This Page:  First, choose the family of compounds you want to work on, choose an "Easy", "Medium" or "Difficult" problem.
Next, choose the "mode".  In the default "Problem" mode, you can test yourself by drawing the structure of the molecule directly into the molecular editor window, some feedback will be provided, and your score will be updated.  In "Guided" mode, you will be guided through the process of drawing the structure in a stepwise manner, and detailed feedback will be provided at each stage.  This mode is designed to help you learn the basics of organic nomenclature and the score is not recorded.
Finally, click the "Get Problem" button, and the problem will appear to the left of the molecule drawing window, together with instructions on how to proceed.
Feedback on your answer will be provided below the molecular editor window.   If the structure is not correct, study the feedback and consult the relevant Help pages if you wish, then modify the structure and and click on the "Check Structure" button again.   When you draw the correct structure, you will have an option to transfer it to the 3D molecular viewer "JSmol" (Help) and manipulate it.   You must complete each problem before you can choose another one.
Review your progress regularly and move on to problems of a different level of difficulty, or relating to different functional groups, as appropriate.

ChemInteractive is still in the development and testing phase.
This page is fully functional, but very few problems of some types are available.  More problems, and some improvements in features are now being added, but the page can be used as is.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave them here.

Choose a family of compounds   Click on a name to get help on that compound type.
Alkanes & haloalkanes, alkenes & alkynes Aromatic compounds Alcohols & ethers
Carboxylic acids, esters & amides Aldehydes & ketones Amines
All functional groups
Choose difficulty
Choose mode
JSME molecular editor (Help)

JSmol 3D structure viewer (Help)

Parent structure
CC Multiple bonds
Principal functional group
Molecular formula