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Hi I was wondering, for a molecule like 1-ethyl-4-fluorocyclohexane, why couldn't it also be written as 4-ethyl-1-fluorocyclohexane?
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Because alphabetically "e" comes before "f", you would want the ethyl to have the lowest number. When you start numbering at ethyl and go clockwise the fluoro is on the 4th carbon; similarly if you go counterclockwise the fluoro is still on the 4th carbon. (If these were different numbers, you would pick the direction that results in the lowest number) Therefore it is 1-ethyl-4-fluorocyclohexane
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