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The carbonyl group is the commonest functional unit of organic chemistry and a thorough understanding of its reactivity is fundamental for organic synthesis. It appears in many classes of compound, of which aldehydes, ketones, and carboxylic acid derivatives are the most important. This Primer covers the chemistry of these classes within an up-to-date mechanistic framework which embraces reactions with simple nucleophiles (hydration, acetal formation, and condensation with aminonucleophiles); enols and enolates; and their reactions with electrophiles, including alkylating agents and carbonyl groups. Core Carbonyl Chemistry is central to organic chemistry and will be invaluable to students taking chemistry or biochemistry courses at University.