NOMENCLATURE

Chemical Formulas – Nomenclature

IUPAC

Systematic chemical names of inorganic compounds were developed by a group of scientists who were part of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) which first met in 1921. Elements are represented by symbols which are the first, first two, or first and third letters from the name of the element. There are some notable exceptions, where the symbols appears to have no connection to the name of the element. These symbols are derived from early names for these elements. The table below illustrates some of these.
Elements are represented by symbols which are the first, first two, or first and third letters from the name of the element. There are some notable exceptions, where the symbols appears to have no connection to the name of the element. These symbols are derived from early names for these elements. The table below illustrates some of these.

Present Name         Symbol                     Former Name
Antimony                Sb                                Stibium
Copper                     Cu                               Cuprum
Gold                         Au                               Aurum
Iron                          Fe                                Ferrum
Lead                         Pb                               Plumbum
Potassium               K                                 Kalium
Silver                       Ag                                Argentum
Sodium                  Na                                 Natrium
Tin                           Sn                                 Stanum
Tungsten                W                                  Wolfram

The names of inorganic compounds are constructed so that every compound can be named from its formula and each formula has a name unique to that formula. For the purpose of clarity, we will divide the formulas into the following categories:
1) Binary compounds of nonmetals (covalent molecules)
2) Binary compounds of a metal and nonmetal (ionic compounds)
3) Ternary and higher compounds (polyatomic ions and acids)
I. Binary Covalent Compounds: two nonmetals

1. Name first element, preceded by Greek prefix for number of atoms. If one, omit mono.
2. Name the second element, preceded by Greek prefix for number of atoms even if one.
The ending of the second element is -ide.
Greek Prefixes: 
1 = mono             2 = di            3 = tri          4 = tetra      5 = penta            

                               6 = hexa     7 = hepta             8= octa          9 = nona      10 = deca

Examples:        
Formula                            Name
PCl3                        Phosphorous trichloride
SO2                         Sulfur dioxide
CO                           Carbon monoxide
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