Nomenclature is the naming of compounds, although it is commonly used to describe both the naming of compounds and the writing of formulas. We will be using it in that context.

Before you read any further, it is important that you understand what a formula means.

Nomenclature is immensely important for the study of chemistry since it makes up the “basic vocabulary” of chemistry. Nomenclature is the way that one chemist or chemistry student describes to another what they are doing and with which chemicals they are doing it. To be proficient at nomenclature there are two skills you must acquire. You must be able to name a compound from its formula and you must be able to write the formula for a compound from its name.

To complicate matters, there are three totally separate systems of nomenclature (within inorganic chemistry) that you must know and you must know when to use each. The three systems are for ionic compounds, for acids and for non-ionic (also called molecular) compounds. Therefore the first thing you must learn to do is to determine which naming system to use for the compound at which you are looking. As a point of fact, there are several other systems of nomenclature (mostly related to organic chemistry and biochemistry) but we will not be using those in this text. do you know if something is an ionic compound, and acid or a non-ionic compound? That depends on whether you are looking at a formula or if you are looking at a name.

Once you have determined the type of compound you are working with, you can proceed to either write the formula or name the compound.

Warning: if you are working with either an acid or an ionic compound, you will need to know your polyatomic ions.


Writing formulas for:


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