Capitalization rules for chemical compounds and abbreviations have the right to be confusing.At the start of a sentence, capitalize the very first syllabic portion of the link name.Chemical elements and also amino acids room not capitalized within a sentence, simply their symbol (e.g., Ag or Gln).

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PhD, ChemistryDuke University

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A separate short article here on the Author resource Center discusses formatting v chemical compound prefixes. This short article focuses on capitalization of chemical compounds and abbreviations, an additional tricky aspect of formatting chemistry papers. Below are several tips to follow:

1. Chemistry names

The surname of chemicals space not capitalized unless they are the an initial word that a sentence. In such a case, the first letter of the syllabic section is capitalized, not the descriptor or prefix. Note that prefixes such together Tris- and Bis- (which room not commonly italicized) room considered part of the name. The adhering to table mirrors several examples.

in ~ sentence beginning a sentence in ~ sentence beginning a sentence
benzoic acid Benzoic acid 1-bromo-3-chloropropane 1-Bromo-3-chloropropane
7-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-naphthol 7-(4-Chlorophenyl)-1-naphthol O,S,S-triethyl phosphorodithioate O,S,S-Triethyl phosphorodithioate
O,S,S-triethyl phosphorodithioate O,S,S-Triethyl phosphorodithioate p-benezenediacetic acid p-Benezenediacetic acid
tris(β-chloroethyl)amine Tris(β-chloroethyl)amine cis-1,2-dichloroethene cis-1,2-Dichloroethene

2. Chemical elements

Within a sentence, the name of chemical facets are not capitalized, but the very first letter of a chemistry symbol should constantly be capitalized (e.g., “The sample contained calcium atoms” and also “The sample consisted of Ca atoms”).

3. Chemistry formulas

Within a sentence, the names of chemistry compounds room not capitalized, yet the very first letter of each elemental symbol have to be capitalized (e.g., “We added sodium hydroxide” and also “We added NaOH). Keep in mind that symbols and also words have to not be combined (that is, avoid saying “K chloride”).

4. Amino acids

Abbreviations for amino acids (three-letter or one-letter versions) room capitalized; complete names space not capitalized uneven they space the very first word that a sentence (e.g., ““The mutant protein attributes a substituted glutamine residue” and “The mutant protein functions a substituted Gln residue”).

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We hope the today’s short article provides some additional useful advice for composing or modifying your next chemistry paper! Send us an e-mail with any questions.