Asked Jun 3, 2019

State 2 differences between SN1 and SN reaction? Give an example of each.


Expert Answer

Step 1

Substitution reactions are those reactions which involve substitution of a group with another. If the substituted group is a nucleophile, then the reaction is termed as nucleophillic substitution.

A nucleophile is a group which either bears negative charge (such as halides) or lone pairs (such as ammonia)

Step 2

SN1 and  SN2 are the types of nucleophillic substitution reactions which are differentiated as :


SN1 reaction

SN2 reaction


SN1 stands for nucleophillic substitution reaction that is unimolecular.

It means rate of reaction depends only on substrate and not the nucleophile

Rate = [Substrate]

SN2 stands for nucleophillic substitution reaction that is unimolecular.

It means rate of reaction depends on both substrate as well as nucleophile

Rate = [Substrate][Nucleophile]


Reaction occurs in two steps i.e. a) Release of leaving group from substrate and formation of carbocation (Slow step)

b) Attack of nucleophile (Fast step)

As carbocations are planar, attack of nucleophile may from any side resulting in formation of two stereoisomers in equal amounts.

Reaction occurs in one step i.e. Attack of nucleophile on the substrate


Attack of nucleophile is from backward direction to avoid steric hinderance so, only one stereoisomer is formed.

Step 3

Examples of the two reactions are as below:



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