• Chemical reactions rarely occur in one simple step.
  • The overall balanced equation for a chemical reaction does not always tell us how a reaction actually proceeds.
  • An elementary step (or elementary reaction) is one step in a series of simple reactions that show the progress of a reaction at the molecular level.
  • A reaction mechanism is the sequence of elementary steps that together comprise an entire chemical reaction.
  • As an analogy, consider the route that you might take while driving to the grocery store.
  • That route may consist of several turns, similar to the elementary steps.
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