Difference Between Ethyl and Methyl

Ethyl vs Methyl

Ethyl and methyl are substituents derived from alkane hydrocarbons. These groups are largely seen in organic chemistry. They are known as alkyl groups. In the nomenclature of these groups, the ending -ane part of the corresponding alkane name is substituted with –yl.


Ethane is a simple aliphatic hydrocarbon molecule with C2H6 molecular formula. Ethane is said to be a hydrocarbon because it consists of only carbon and hydrogen atoms. Ethane is also known to be an alkane because it doesn’t have multiple bonds between carbon atoms. Further, ethane contains the maximum number of hydrogen atoms, which a carbon atom can possess, making it a saturate alkane. Ethyl is an alkane substituent derived from ethane. It has the chemical formula of -CH3CH2 or -C2H5. Sometimes the abbreviated from –Et is also used to show an ethyl group. Ethyl lacks one hydrogen atom than ethane, therefore, can bond to any other atom or a group. For example, when a halogen like chlorine is bonded to an ethyl group, it becomes ethyl chloride. Or an alcohol can bind to ethyl making an ethyl alcohol molecule. The molar mass of the ethyl group is 29 g mol-1. The CH3 carbon of the ethyl group has tetrahedral geometry since it has bound with three hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom. The other carbon will also attain a tetrahedral geometry when it is bonded to another atom or a molecule. The H-C-H bond angle is 109o. The carbon atoms in ethyl are sp3 hybridized. A sp3 hybridized orbital from each carbon atom overlaps to make the carbon-carbon sigma bond. The bond between carbon and hydrogen is also a sigma bond, but it is made up by overlapping a sp3 hybridized orbital of the carbon with a s orbital of a hydrogen atom. Because of the single sigma bond between carbon atoms, bond rotation is feasible, and it doesn’t require a large amount of energy. Ethyl group will make a sigma bond with the other binding group too.


Methyl is an alkyl group, which has derived from the alkane methane. Methane is the simplest alkane with the chemical formula CH4. When one hydrogen of the methane molecule is lost, it becomes methyl. And this hydrogen can be replaced with any other atom or a molecule. For example, when methyl group is attached with an acetate group it is known as methyl acetate. Methane has a tetrahedral geometry with sp3 hybridization. Similarly, substituted methyl also has a tetrahedral geometry and sp3 hybridization. The molar mass of methyl is 15 g mol-1. Methyl is shown as CH3, and it is also abbreviated as -Me.


What is the difference between Ethyl and Methyl?

• Methyl has only one carbon and three hydrogens, whereas ethyl has two carbons and five hydrogens. Therefore, the molar mass of ethyl group is higher than that of the methyl group.

• Ethyl is derived from the alkane ethane and methyl is derived from the alkane methane.

• In 1H NMR spectroscopy, coupling due to a methyl group gives a quartet, whereas coupling due to an ethyl group gives a quartet and a triplet.