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Primary amides are organic chemical compounds that include the functional group: 


That is, primary* amides are a class or category of organic chemical compounds that include a part consisting of a carbon atom connected to both:

  • a nitrogen atom connected to two hydrogen atoms by single covalent bonds between the nitogen and each of the hydrogen atoms (that is an -amine group). 
    AND
  • an oxygen atom (connected to the carbon atom by a double covalent bond).

Amide molecules can vary in size up to very long molecules most of which consist of carbon atoms attached to each other and also to hydrogen atoms.

*There are also more complex amides called secondary amides and tertiary amides. In the case of secondary amides one of the hydrogen atoms attached to the nitrogen is replaced by another group or carbon chain e.g. by a methyl group, as in methylbutanamide. However, many introductory texts incl. some A-Level course materials only discuss primary amides which are described as simply including the group -CONH2.

An alternative group-name for amides is carboxamides, i.e. the Carboxamide Group (of Chemicals).

Amides are named according to the same system as other organic compounds, with the suffix -amide used to designate the presence in the molecule of an amide group.

The first step is to consider the number of carbon atoms forming a chain. If they are attached together in a linear (i.e. unbranched) configuration then the number of carbon atoms is indicated according to the same system as used for alkanes 

If the carbon atoms do not form a linear chain but include branches, the linear chain of carbon atoms within the molecule determines the base of the name of the compound - onto which is added information about the branches incl. their lengths in terms of the number of carbon atoms in each branch (i.e. methyl- indicates a branch consisting of just one carbon atom attached to the main chain, ethyl- indicates a branch of two carbon atoms in length, etc.). and their positions along the longest linear carbon chain.

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