What is the difference between neo- and tert?

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What is the difference between neo- and tert?

What is the difference between neo- and tert- (because neo-butyl and tert-butyl have the same structural formula)?

Chem_Mod
Posts: 17659
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Re: What is the difference between neo- and tert?

The biggest difference is that neo- comes from a common naming system that is more or less not used any more while tert-butyl is a mix of common name and IUPAC that gets used for substituents. When you see neo-, it is a prefix to something pent- or larger. It means that the number of carbons from the name (5, for neopentane) is the total number of carbons in the whole molecule, and not just the longest chain, and you draw your molecule by starting with $(CH_{3})_{3}C$- (a tert-butyl if you were mixing the two types of names) which has 4 carbons, and then you connect the rest of the carbons with the appropriate number of hydrogens to that fourth spot. eg: a $CH_{3}$ or neopentane, $CH_{2}CH_{3}$ for neohexane, etc. When you see tert-butyl, it will be as a substituent. Thus, it will come attached to a longer carbon chain that is the main chain and it will be given a substituent number. The carbons in the tert-butyl group will not be part of the total number of carbons for the chain.

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