What is the meaning of the two in ethyl alcohol, #C_2H_5OH#?

1 Answer
May 11, 2016


The subscript gives the number of atoms in the chemical formula.


Ethyl alcohol, #C_2H_5OH#, is a carbon chain of #2# carbon atoms, with an oxygen chemically bound to one end of the chain.

We could represent this is in the formulation:


Carbon 1 (from the left) is bound to 3 hydrogens and to C2. C2 is bound to C1, 2 hydrogens and an oxygen atom. Because it is easier to write #C_2H_5OH# than the whole chain, it is a convenient representation.