Is ethanol C^2H^6O (l) (alcohol) a salt, base, acid, or none of these?

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ethanol (CH3CH2OH) is an alcohol due to the presence of the hydroxyl group (OH).  It is a very common chemical and is the "active ingredient" in all alcoholic beverages.  Ethanol is not a salt.  The hydroxyl hydrogen would have to be replaced to make a salt (sodium ethoxide (CH3CH2ONa) would be an example).  The hydrogen of the hydroxyl group will react with a strong enough base, so that would make ethanol a very weak acid (much weaker than acetic acid).  But in practical terms we don't really think of ethanol as an acidic substance.  It is certainly not a base.