# What is a more substituted carbon from a less substituted carbon? What does substituted mean?

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Apr 2, 2018

It just means that there are a different number of non-hydrogen groups on a particular atom. Below, (1) is a tertiary (${3}^{\circ}$), (2) is a secondary (${2}^{\circ}$), and (3) is a primary (${1}^{\circ}$) central carbon.

$\text{ "" "" }$(1)$\text{ "" "" "" "" }$(2)$\text{ "" "" "" }$(3)

The highlighted carbon is currently being considered the "central" carbon.

Simply put...

• Since isobutane (1) has one more atom or group attached to the central carbon than propane (2), it is more substituted.
• Since propane (2) has one more atom or group attached to the central carbon than ethane (3), it is more substituted.
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