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Nomenclature of Amides


Amides are nitrogen-containing organic compounds and is a carboxylic acid derivative. Amides are formed when carboxylic acids react with amines.  The  -NH2 group replaces the OH part of -COOH from carboxylic  functional group, and the resulting amide functional group now becomes the -CONH2 group. The general molecular formula of amides RCONH2 or the structure given above.

Some simplest ethanamides are methanamide (HCONH2), ethanamide (CH3CONH2 ), and propanamide (CH3CH2CONH2).

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The name of an amide is derived from the acid by replacing the ‘-oic acid‘ or ‘-ic acid‘ ending with “amide”, or replacing the -carboxylic acid ending with carboxamide:

If the chain was branched, the carbon in the -CONH2 group counts as the number 1 carbon atom. For example:


The suffix amide is appended to the name of the hydrocarbon corresponding to the carbon chain that includes the carbonyl group. That is, alkan(e) + amide = alkanamide. A one-carbon chain is a carboxamide:

When the amide nitrogen is substituted with lower-ranking groups than the acyl group, the substituents are designated as prefixes. The letter N is used to show that the substitution is on nitrogen:


Names for amides as substituents include the following:


Derivatives of oxoacids  in which an acidic hydroxy group has been replaced by an amino or substituted amino group. Chalcogen replacement analogues are called thio-, seleno- and telluro-amides. Compounds having one, two or three acyl groupson a given nitrogen are generically included and may be designated as primary, secondary and tertiary amides, respectively, e.g.






secondary amides,


tertiary amides,


phenylphosphonamidic acid.

The amide linkage is found in many useful synthetic polymers such as nylon. Amides are formed when amino acids react to form proteins.

Nomenclature of amides video

Learn to recognize the amide functional group and practice naming simple amides.


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