What is a primary alcohol?
Aliphatic alcohols can be classified according to the number of R groups attached to the carbon with the hydroxyl group. If one R group is attached to that carbon, the alcohol is a primary alcohol. If two R groups are attached, the alcohol is a secondary alcohol. If three R groups are attached, the alcohol is a tertiary alcohol. Shown below is an example of each. The primary alcohol is 1-propanol, the secondary alcohol is 2-butanol, and the tertiary alcohol is 2-methy-2-propanol.