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Difference Between Organic and Inorganic Compounds for JEE Main 2024

Last updated date: 14th Apr 2024
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An Introduction to Organic and Inorganic Compounds

The compounds contain carbon as one of their main constituents whether it be in the solid, gaseous, or liquid state is called an organic compound. Different theories are given on the organic compounds which are related to their structural formulas, space-filled models, and Lewis structures. 

Inorganic chemistry is a part of chemistry that focuses upon compounds that lack carbon. The inorganic substances are identified by lacking the bonding of carbon and hydrogen. Examples of inorganic compounds are salts, chemical substances, and metals. 

Types of Compounds

The association of atoms of different elements results in the formation of compounds. Based on the kind of attraction that exists between the atoms of the compound, compounds are classified into four major categories. These are as follows.

  1. Covalent compounds

  2. Ionic compounds

  3. Metallic compounds

  4. Coordinate covalent compounds

  1. Covalent compounds: In covalent compounds, atoms of different elements share their electrons to attain stability

  1. Ionic compounds: In ionic compounds, atoms of different elements are associated with each other by the complete transfer of their electrons.

  1. Metallic compounds: Metallic compounds are characterized by the association of different metallic atoms by strong metallic forces

  1. Coordinate covalent compounds: In coordinate covalent compounds, certain complex ions are held together by covalent and coordinate bonds

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Synthesis of Organic Compounds

The discovery of urea was responsible for the revolution in the field of organic chemistry. In 1845, this discovery was helpful for Kolbe to work on the preparation of acetic acid in the laboratory while Hennel worked successfully on the preparation of ethyl alcohol.

Berthelot in 1856 was successful in the preparation of methane in the laboratory without using any living organism.


New Version of Organic Chemistry

After the successful synthesis of various organic compounds in the laboratory, the Vital force theory was completely disregarded. An in-depth study of organic compounds revealed that these compounds are mainly made up of carbon. The study of compounds of carbon mainly is known as organic chemistry.

One thing to be noted here is that the mere presence of carbon in the compound does not indicate that the compound is organic. For example, CO2 contains carbon but is an inorganic compound.

An in-depth understanding of the structures of organic compounds shows that all the organic compounds are made up of carbon as their main component which is invariably associated with hydrogen as well. These organic compounds which are mainly made of carbon and hydrogen are called hydrocarbons.

There are a large number of organic compounds present that contain inorganic particles such as nitrogen, Sulphur, phosphorus etc. But these compounds are derivatives of hydrocarbons only and hence are regarded as organic compounds.

Hence organic chemistry is defined as the chemistry of hydrocarbons and their derivatives. 


Difference Between Organic and Inorganic Compounds

During the early years of the development of chemistry, chemists made many unsuccessful attempts to synthesize organic compounds in the laboratory. After multiple failures, all their efforts went futile and they were forced to believe that organic compounds can be synthesized by the special mechanism which can take place only inside living beings. Hence, unlike inorganic compounds, organic compounds cannot be prepared in the laboratory. All organisms are largely composed of organic molecules. The organic molecules which are highly important to us are mainly carbohydrates, proteins, lipids etc.


The development of organic chemistry is around 200 years old. In the late seventeenth century, chemists worldwide began to differentiate between the organic compounds obtained from plants and animals and inorganic molecules obtained from mineral resources.

The difference between organic and inorganic compounds are given below in tabular form for better understanding.


Organic Compound

Inorganic Compound


It mainly contains carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

Generally doesn’t contain carbon. 

Nature of compounds

Covalent compound

Electrovalent/Ionic/covalent compounds 

Melting and boiling points



Solubility in water



Solubility in organic solvents



Conduction of electricity

Bad conductors

Good conductors




Volatile nature





Not exhibited



Not exhibited


Reasons for the Presence of a Large Number of Organic Compounds

As we know organic compounds are mainly made up of carbon and hydrogen, the basic properties of carbon result in the formation of such a large number of compounds.

  1. Tetravalency: The atomic number of carbon is 6. This means that it contains 4 electrons in its valence shell. To satisfy its valency, carbon undergoes covalent bond formation.

  2. The Small Size of Carbon: Because of the small size of carbon, its nucleus is more exposed and enables carbon to accommodate four species around it to satisfy its valency.

  3. Catenation: It is the self-linking property of carbon that enables it to combine with more carbon to satisfy its valency.


The three reasons mentioned above clearly justify the presence of a large number of organic compounds on the earth.


On the other hand, inorganic compounds are naturally found in the minerals in the earth’s crust, hence they are limited in number. Most of the inorganic compounds do not show tetravalency and catenation and hence they are limited in number. 

Types of Organic Compounds

As we know most of the organic compounds are derivatives of hydrocarbons, so to study the types of organic compounds, let’s start with the types of hydrocarbons.                            

These two types of hydrocarbons are mainly categorized based on the number of bonds between carbon atoms present in them

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  1. Saturated Hydrocarbons

Those organic compounds which have only single bonds between carbon atoms are known as alkanes. They have a maximum number of hydrogen atoms bonded with carbon atoms.

The general formula of the compounds of this family is CnH2n+1 i.e. successive compounds of alkanes differ with each other in composition by -CH2 group.

  1. Unsaturated Hydrocarbons

Those organic compounds which have an insufficient number of hydrogen atoms undergo double and triple bond formation to satisfy their valency are known as unsaturated hydrocarbons.

The general formula of the family of hydrocarbons showing double bond is CnH2n whereas the family shows triple bond in CnH2n-1. The family of the double bond is known as Alkene whereas the family of triple bond is known as Alkyne.

Unsaturation results in instability of the carbon compound. This can be removed by the process of hydrogenation in which hydrogen molecules are supplied to the carbon compound containing a double or triple bond in the presence of catalyst Ni/Pd to remove unsaturation.

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Hence we get to know about the related necessary information of organic and inorganic compounds and the basic difference between them. These concepts will be helpful for understanding higher concepts of organic and inorganic chemistry.

FAQs on Difference Between Organic and Inorganic Compounds for JEE Main 2024

1. What are organic compounds and inorganic compounds?

Organic compounds are identified by their main property the presence of carbon atoms in them while most inorganic compounds lack carbon atoms in them. Organic compounds are mainly consisting of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and their other derivatives. Organic compounds are obtained from organisms. They form covalent bonds.

The inorganic compounds are found in form of salt. The bonding pattern of inorganic compounds differs from the organic compounds. They form ionic bonds. They are good conductors of electricity. Inorganic compounds are used for different purposes in day-to-day life.

2. What are organic and inorganic compounds examples?

Organic compounds are those compounds that are composed of atoms of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and often oxygen (O) or nitrogen (N). Organic compounds are related to living organisms hence they are referred to as organic compounds. Some examples of organic compounds are carbon tetrachloride, carbohydrates, urea, fats, nucleic acids, proteins etc. On the other side, inorganic compounds lack hydrogen-carbon bondings. Some examples of inorganic compounds are glass, carbonates, sodium chloride, carbon monoxide, brass, cyanides, cyanates, carbides, thyocyanates, carbon dioxide, water etc.