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Unit 3
Elements of Organic Chemistry

3-5. INTRODUCTION TO FUNCTIONAL GROUPS

There are millions of organic compounds known to exist, and most are more complex than the simple hydrocarbons we have discussed. To facilitate the study of their reactions and properties, they are conveniently classed according to the functional groups they contain. A functional group is a group of atoms or a single atom that is substituted for a hydrogen or a hydrocarbon. These groups generally determine the types of reactions and properties of these more complex compounds. (A summary of the properties and reactions of the compounds contained in paragraphs 3-8 through 3-16 is tabulated in Table 3-3, pages 3-14 and 3-15.)