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Is CH3CH2CH2CH(CH3)2 a primary, secondary or tertiary carbon and why?

I just started Chem and I am having a hard time getting started.


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5 Answers

Both CH2 (2nd CH2 and 3rd CH2 from left) Has Secondary Carbon atom

There is only 1 CH  and this carbon is Tertiary

All the CH3 Carbons are Primary Carbon atom (1st CH3 and last 2 CH3)


Just to chime in, the atom designation increases with the amount of carbon atom bonding.

A primary carbon has one carbon atom bonded to it.

A secondary carbon atom has two carbon atoms bonded to it.

A tertiary carbon atom has three carbon atoms bonded to it.

A quaternary carbon atom has four carbon atoms bonded to it.

First you must look for the longest chain of carbons to correctly determine the configuration. That is five carbons with a methyl group on number 4 so the second methylene group is attached to two other carbons and therefore secondary.

There is one tertiary carbon and the primary carbons are 1, 5 and the methyl group attached to 4.


Ambiguous.  Which carbon are you talking about in this pentane molecule?  There are examples of each here, but which is unclear.

There are 3 1°, 2 2º, and 1 3º carbon here.

Primary (1º) is a carbon with three hydrogens on it.

Secondary (2º) is a carbon with two hydrogens on it.

Tertiary (3º) is a carbon with only one hydrogen on it.