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The rate determining step will be the slowest occurring step in the mechanism. For instance, if you're building a car and the engine takes the longest to install, it doesn't matter how fast you assemble the rest of the car, the final product won't be produced until the engine is in place.
The rate-determining step is the slowest step in the chemical reaction because the reaction can not proceed any faster than the slowest step in a chemical reaction. In order for the overall chemical reaction to complete, the slowest step has to be completed, which makes it the rate-determining step.
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