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Rules for Naming Compounds with Examples

Aug 22, 2022
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Key Concepts

• Compound

• The chemical name of an ionic compound

• The chemical name of a covalent compound

Introduction

Compound:  

The combination of the two or more different atoms is called a compound. 

The chemical formula 

The chemical formula of an ionic compound has symbols to identify each ion. It also shows the relative numbers of each type of ion in the compound. These numbers are indicated by a subscript set to the right of the element symbol. Three examples are explained below: 

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  • NaCl is formed from one sodium ion (Na+) and one chloride ion (Cl
  • CaF2 is formed from one calcium ion (Ca2+) and two fluoride ions (F
  • Na3P is formed from three sodium ions (Na+) and one phosphide ion (P3–

Rules for Writing the Names of ionic Compounds 

The rules for writing the name of an ionic compound from its formula are shown in the table, including two examples. 

Rules for Writing the Names of ionic Compounds

Rules for Writing the Names of Covalent Compounds 

The main difference between naming covalent and ionic compounds is that prefixes are used to indicate the number of each type of atom in a covalent compound. These prefixes are shown in the table.  

Prefixes Used in Naming Covalent Compounds 

Prefixes Used in Naming Covalent Compounds 

The rules for writing the name of a covalent compound from its formula are shown in the table, including two examples. 

Rules for Naming Covalent Compounds Containing Two Elements 

Rules for Naming Covalent Compounds Containing Two Elements 

Some covalent compounds are known by common names as well as by chemical names. For example, water is the common name for H2O. Other common names and formulas are shown in the table. 

Common Covalent Compounds 

Common Covalent Compounds 

Summary

• A compound is the combination of two or more atoms.

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• A chemical formula is the formula used with the number of each element with it’s symbol in the compound.

• Rules for the naming of the ionic compounds based on the ions and the metals or non-metals in the compound.

• Rules for the naming of the covalent compounds.

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