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Aldehyde vs. Ketone: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 23, 2023
Aldehydes have a carbonyl group (C=O) bonded to a hydrogen atom or carbon, while ketones have the carbonyl group bonded between two carbon atoms.

Key Differences

Aldehydes are organic compounds characterized by a carbonyl group, which is a carbon atom double-bonded to an oxygen atom. In aldehydes, this carbonyl group is bonded to either a hydrogen atom or a carbon atom. This gives them the general formula RCHO, where R represents a carbon chain or a hydrogen atom. Ketones, on the other hand, also contain a carbonyl group. However, in ketones, the carbonyl group is bonded to two carbon atoms. Their general formula is RCOR', where R and R' can be the same or different carbon chains.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023
When it comes to naming, aldehydes and ketones follow different conventions. Aldehydes usually end with "-al," for instance, methanal or ethanal. Ketones typically end with "-one," like propanone or butanone. The placement of the carbonyl group also influences the nomenclature, especially for aldehydes, as they're always at the end of the carbon chain.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023
Aldehydes can be oxidized easily to form carboxylic acids. However, ketones are generally more resistant to oxidation. This difference in reactivity is frequently used in organic chemistry reactions to distinguish between the two. On the other hand, both aldehydes and ketones can undergo reduction reactions, but the products of these reactions differ based on the compound type.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023
From a physical property perspective, both aldehydes and ketones are polar due to the presence of the carbonyl group. This means they can form hydrogen bonds with water, making them somewhat soluble in water. However, as the carbon chain length increases, the solubility in water decreases for both aldehydes and ketones.
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Comparison Chart

General Formula

RCHO (Carbonyl group bonded to H or C)
RCOR' (Carbonyl group between two C atoms)
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Oct 23, 2023
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Naming Convention

Ends with "-al"
Ends with "-one"
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Oxidation

Easily oxidized to carboxylic acids
Resistant to oxidation
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Position of Carbonyl Group

Always at the end of the carbon chain
Anywhere within the carbon chain
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

Example

Methanal, Ethanal
Propanone, Butanone
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Aldehyde and Ketone Definitions

Aldehyde

Derivatives of alcohols where the hydroxyl group is replaced by a carbonyl group.
Benzaldehyde gives bitter almonds their characteristic scent.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 23, 2023
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Ketone

Chemicals characterized by the RCOR' structure.
Methyl ethyl ketone is used in paint removers.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 23, 2023

Aldehyde

Organic substances with a formyl group.
Vanillin, an aldehyde, is used as a flavoring agent in foods.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Ketone

Derivatives of secondary alcohols with a carbonyl group.
Fructose, a sugar, contains a ketone group.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023

Aldehyde

An organic compound with a carbonyl group bonded to a hydrogen or carbon atom.
Formaldehyde is a simple aldehyde used in resins and disinfectants.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023

Ketone

Organic substances containing a ketonic carbonyl group.
Camphor is a natural ketone used in medicinal applications.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

Aldehyde

Chemicals characterized by the RCHO structure.
Acetaldehyde is an aldehyde found in ripe fruits.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

Ketone

An organic compound where a carbonyl group is bonded to two carbon atoms.
Acetone is a common ketone used as a solvent.
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Aldehyde

A chemical featuring a terminal carbonyl group.
The smell of fresh-cut grass is partly due to an aldehyde called hexanal.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023

Ketone

Compounds with a carbonyl group not at the end of the carbon chain.
Cyclohexanone is a ketone used in nylon production.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Aldehyde

Any of a class of highly reactive organic chemical compounds obtained by oxidation of primary alcohols, characterized by the common group CHO, and used in the manufacture of resins, dyes, and organic acids.
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

Ketone

Any of a class of organic compounds, such as acetone, characterized by having a carbonyl group in which the carbon atom is bonded to two other hydrocarbon groups and having the general formula R(CO)R′, where R may be the same as R′.
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

Aldehyde

(organic compound) Any of a large class of reactive organic compounds (R·CHO) having a carbonyl functional group attached to one hydrocarbon radical and a hydrogen atom.
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

Ketone

See ketone body.
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

Aldehyde

A colorless, mobile, and very volatile liquid obtained from alcohol by certain processes of oxidation.
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May 05, 2020

Ketone

(organic compound) A homologous series of organic molecules whose functional group is an oxygen atom joined to a carbon atom—by a double bond—in a carbon-hydrogen based molecule.
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

Aldehyde

Any compound having the group -CHO. Methyl aldehyde, the simplest aldehyde, is more commonly called formaldehyde, H-CHO, and acetic aldehyde is now more commonly called acetaldehyde. The higher aldehydes may be solids. A reducing sugar typically contains the aldehyde group.
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

Ketone

One of a large class of organic substances resembling the aldehydes, obtained by the distillation of certain salts of organic acids and consisting of carbonyl (CO) united with two hydrocarbon radicals. In general the ketones are colorless volatile liquids having a pungent ethereal odor.
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

Aldehyde

Any of a class of highly reactive chemical compounds; used in making resins and dyes and organic acids
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

Ketone

Any of a class of organic compounds having a carbonyl group linked to a carbon atom in each of two hydrocarbon radicals
Sumera Saeed
May 05, 2020

FAQs

How do the naming conventions differ between aldehydes and ketones?

Aldehydes typically end in "-al," while ketones end in "-one."
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 23, 2023

Are both aldehydes and ketones polar compounds?

Yes, both aldehydes and ketones are polar due to their carbonyl groups.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

What is the primary functional group in an aldehyde?

The primary functional group in an aldehyde is a carbonyl group bonded to a hydrogen or carbon atom, while in a ketone, it's bonded between two carbon atoms.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

What's a common test to distinguish between aldehydes and ketones?

The Tollens' test is commonly used; aldehydes reduce the silver solution to form a mirror, while ketones do not.
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Which is responsible for the aroma of vanilla?

Vanillin, an aldehyde, is responsible for vanilla's aroma, while acetone, a ketone, has a distinct solvent smell.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023

Can ketones undergo aldol condensation?

Yes, ketones can undergo aldol condensation, and so can aldehydes.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

Can ketones form hydrogen bonds with themselves?

No, ketones cannot form hydrogen bonds with themselves, and neither can aldehydes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Which has a higher boiling point: aldehydes or ketones?

Typically, ketones have higher boiling points than aldehydes of similar molecular weight.
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Are aldehydes more reactive than ketones?

Yes, aldehydes are generally more reactive than ketones due to the presence of the hydrogen atom.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023

What type of isomerism can aldehydes and ketones exhibit?

Both aldehydes and ketones can show tautomeric isomerism.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

Can aldehydes be easily oxidized?

Yes, aldehydes can be easily oxidized, whereas ketones are more resistant to oxidation.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

Can aldehydes undergo nucleophilic addition reactions?

Yes, aldehydes can undergo nucleophilic addition reactions, and so can ketones.
Sara Rehman
Oct 23, 2023

Which is found in the oxidation of alcohol?

Aldehydes are formed from the oxidation of primary alcohols, while ketones are formed from secondary alcohols.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023

Which has a carbonyl group at the end of the carbon chain?

Aldehydes have the carbonyl group at the end, while in ketones, it can be anywhere within the chain.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 23, 2023

How are aldehydes and ketones prepared in the lab?

Aldehydes are often prepared by oxidizing primary alcohols, while ketones result from the oxidation of secondary alcohols.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

Which is a naturally occurring ketone in our body?

Beta-hydroxybutyrate is a naturally occurring ketone in our body, while methanal, an aldehyde, is not naturally prevalent.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

Can ketones be turned into aldehydes?

It's challenging to convert ketones directly into aldehydes, but aldehydes can be easily converted to ketones.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

What is a common use of the ketone acetone?

Acetone, a ketone, is widely used as a solvent, while formaldehyde, an aldehyde, is used in resins.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 23, 2023

Are both aldehydes and ketones soluble in water?

Both aldehydes and ketones with short carbon chains are soluble in water due to their carbonyl group.
Janet White
Oct 23, 2023

What is the product when ketones are reduced?

When ketones are reduced, they form secondary alcohols, while aldehydes form primary alcohols.
Harlon Moss
Oct 23, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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