Claudia Ellis
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How do you distinguish between primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols?
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smozsolution
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Primary - the carbon attached to the -OH has 1 carbon and 2 hydrogen atoms attached to it.
Secondary - the carbon attached to the -OH has 2 carbon and 1 hydrogen atoms attached to it.
Tertiary - the carbon attached to the -OH has 3 carbon and no hydrogen atoms attached to it.

At least that's how I remember it - MidnightDream's explanation is also pretty valid too!
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MidnightDream
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Primary alcohols - the -oh group is attached to a carbon which is attached to one alkyl group e.g. Propan-1-ol

Secondary alcohols - the -oh group is attached a carbon which is attached to two alkyl groups e.g. Propan-2-ol

Tertiary alcohols - the -oh group is attached to a carbon which is attached to three alkyl groups

Hope this helped
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