Naming Binary Covalent Compounds

There are many other naming schemes.  There are naming schemes for acids, organic compounds and simple covalent compounds.  You book covers simple covalent compounds in this chapter probably because it is so similar to the naming scheme for ionic compounds.  Remember, ionic compounds are metal combined with a non-metal.  A covalent compound is the combination of non-metals.


Rules for naming simple covalent compounds:


1.       Name the non-metal furthest to the left on the periodic table by its elemental name.

2.       Name the other non-metal by its elemental name and an -ide ending.

3.       Use the prefixes mono-, di-, tri-.... to indicate the number of that element in the molecule.

4.       If mono is the first prefix, it is understood and not written



N2O4 is called dinitrogen monoxide

CO2 is called carbon dioxide

CO is called carbon monoxide

N2O is called dinitrogen monoxide.  (It is also called nitrous oxide but that is another naming scheme.)

CCl4 is called carbon tetrachloride


Here is a chart of those prefixes:

1 - mono

2 - di

3 - tri

4 - tetra

5 - penta

6 - hexa

7 - hepta

8 - octa

9 - nona

10 - deca