2.4 Naming Acids

Course Menu
Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    How to Name Binary Acids

    A binary acid generally contains hydrogen and one other element such as HCl or H2S (HCN is considered a binary acid too).


    The names for binary acids all follow the same pattern:

    hydro-element-ic acid

    The only variance is the use of the root of the particular element. 


    Here are the names of some common binary acids:

    HCl     hydrochloric acid

    H2S    hydrosulfuric acid

    HI       hydroiodic acid

    How to Name Oxoacids

    Oxoacids (a.k.a oxyacids) are the acids of the polyatomic oxoanions.  These include the following:

    H2SO4 is the oxoacid of the sulfate ion, SO42-

    H2SO3 is the oxoacid of the sulfite ion SO32-

    HNO3 is the oxoacid of the nitrate ion NO3-

    HNO2 is the oxoacid of the nitrite ion, NO2-


    To name the corresponding oxoacid, replace the -ic suffix with -ate or the -ite suffix with -ous and then add the word acid:

    H2SO4     sulfuric acid

    H2SO3     sulfurous acid

    HNO3       nitric acid

    HNO2       nitrous acid


    For Cl, Br, and I there are four oxoanions and therefore four corresponding oxoacids.  But the same procedure of replacing the suffixes is used so as long as you know the name of the oxoanion you should be able to name the corresponding oxoacid:

    ClO4- perchlorate HClO4 perchloric acid
    ClO3- chlorate HClO3 chloric acid
    ClO2- perchlorite HClO2 chlorous acid
    ClO- hypochlorite HClO hypochlorous acid

    Naming Acids Practice


    hydrobromic acid


    hydrosulfuric acid

    hydroselenic acid


    hydrofluoric acid



    phosphoric acid


    bromous acid

    carbonic acid


    hypoiodous acid

    HIO (or HOI)

    Naming Ionic or Molecular Compounds?

    Check out the following lessons on Naming Ionic Compounds and 

    Naming Molecular Compounds.