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The overall order of a reaction can be different from the order of the individual reactants. For example, a reaction may be first order with respect to X and first order with respect to Y. Even though the reactions are first order with respect to individual reactants, the overall order is second order.
I actually have the same question and the answers below didn't quite help. I understand that the overall order of the reaction is the sum of the orders of the individual reactants and that these can differ. The individual orders can also help determine the rate constant. However, what is the point of finding the overall order of the reaction? What exactly does it tell us?
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