There are over 12 million known chemical compounds in the world and each individual compound requires a unique name - preferrably a descriptive name that tells us something about the compound. A name that identifies the compound as belonging to a particular class of compounds (ionic vs. covalent, inorganic vs. organic, etc.) and provides information about the chemical composition (and structure) of the compound would be ideal. Such a system of naming chemical compounds requires a set of rules, and this set of rules is known as nomenclature. Nomenclature is the systematic approach to naming chemical compounds.
We are only concerned with naming very simple compounds. For this course, we will learn the nomenclature rules for three very broad classes of compounds (ionic compounds, binary covalent compounds, and acids). Each class of compounds has a different set of nomenclature rules, so you need to know what type of compound you're dealing with before you even begin. Use the flowchart below to help you determine the type of compound and the nomenclature rules.