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Substituents Can Affect Both the Reactivity of the Ring and the Orientation of the Incoming Group

Electron-Donating and Electron-Withdrawing Substituents

Whether a substituent is an activating group or a deactivating group, and whether it is an ortho–para director or a meta director, depends largely on whether the substituent donates electrons to the ring or whether it withdraws electrons.

  • All electron-donating groups are activating groups and all are ortho–para directors.
  • With the exception of halogen substituents, all electron-withdrawing groups are deactivating groups and all are meta directors.
  • Halogen substituents are weakly deactivating groups and are ortho–para directors.


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