Does the difficulty of pronouncing a chemical’s name really follow the trend: the easier, the less harmful, and the harder, the more harmful?

I heard people use this “rule” to back up why some things are less harmful to them than others, simple because they can pronounce the names of the chemicals within the product. I can’t imagine this holding up to be a viable thing. I don’t know of any non-harmful chemicals I can’t pronounce but I sure as heck know plenty of harmful chemicals that I can pronounce.

11 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    guys can you please help me on my last chemistry questions 

  • garry
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    no , take cyanide, easy to say and deadly , then take sodium chloride , it is harmless .

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    No.  Tell us exactly what "I heard people" means.  Was that the little man in your head.  Your pretend rule is just dumb.

  • Jim
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    This rule of thumb is horrible!

    We have abbreviations we accept for some chemicals, like sugar C₁₂H₂₂O₁₁:

    Sucrose is a glycosyl glycoside formed by glucose and fructose units joined by an acetal oxygen bridge from hemiacetal of glucose to the hemiketal of the fructose.

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  • Dr W
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    where on Earth did you hear that ridiculus rule of thumb?  Every chemical is harmful when the concentration exceeds a certain point.  Even oxygen.  Even water.

    chemicals that are beneficial AND harmful that you might or might not be able to pronounce

    .. bevacizumab

    .. panitumumab

    .. bezlotoxumab

    .. pembrolizumab

    extremely harmful chemicals that are moderately difficult to read and say

    .. (RS)-Ethyl N,N-Dimethylphosphoramidocyanidate

    .. (RS)-Propan-2-yl methylphosphonofluoridate

    .. (S)-(ethyl {[2-(diethylamino)ethyl]sulfanyl}(ethyl)phosphinate)

    .. O,O-Diethyl S-[2-(diethylamino)ethyl] phosphorothioate

    .. Ethyl ({2-[bis(propan-2-yl)amino]ethyl}sulfanyl)(methyl)phosphinate

    ..1,8-Bis[methyl-2(3-dimethylcarbamoxypyridyl)methylamino]octane dimethobromide

    .. Diethyl 2-[(dimethoxyphosphorothioyl)sulfanyl]butanedioate

    extremely harmful chemicals that are EASY to read and say

    .. arsine

    .. phosphine

    .. stibine

    .. acetic anhydride

    .. mercury(II) chloride

    non-toxic and difficult to read and speak chemicals

    here's one

    .. β-D-Fructofuranosyl α-D-glucopyranoside

    .. .. .. .aka "sucrose"... table sugar

    or how about this ONE chemical with a very long name

    .. (2R,3R,4S,5S,6R)-2-[(2S,3S,4S,5R)-3,4-dihydroxy-2,5-

    .. bis(hydroxymethyl)oxolan-2-yl]oxy-6-[[(2S,3R,4S,5R,6R)-3,4,5-

    .. trihydroxy-6-(hydroxymethyl)oxan-2-yl]oxymethyl]oxane-3,4,5-triol

    ...   .. .aka... "raffinose".. the digestive aid known as "beano".  

    and if you're a "Breaking Bad" fan... the most difficult chemical to pronounce of all chemicals natural and synthetic known to mankind

    .. methylamine.

  • 1 month ago

    What do you mean by "chemical"?  You must differentiate between standard names for elements and their compounds, which have rules for naming;  and the products produced by pharmaceutical companies, which seem to be made difficult even to read, never mind to pronounce, and which follow no rules as far as I can determine.  Those names seem to have no particular significance.

  • 1 month ago

    The ONLY thing demonstrated by the difficulty of pronouncing any word is the knowledge of the speaker.

    Besides, the "rule" is false. 

    For example, the correct chemical name of caffeine is


    For another, the correct chemical name of penicillin is

    (2S,5R,6R)-3,3-dimethyl-7-oxo-6-[(phenylacetyl)amino]-4-thia-1-azabicyclo[3.2.0]heptane-2-carboxylic acid

    And then here are the correct chemical names of some deadly poisons:

    arsenic, cyanide, and thallium.

  • 1 month ago

    It's pretty easy to pronounce "arsenic," which is poisonous.

  • !
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No, because aluminium is completely inert, but no american can pronounce it properly

  • Robin
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No don’t be silly 

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