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Arrange water, ethanol and phenol in increasing order of acidity and give reason for your answer

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Increasing order of acidity is ethanol < water < phenol. The phenoxide ion obtained after the removal of a proton is stabilised by resonance whereas the ethoxide ion obtained after the removal of a proton is destabilised by ‘+I’ effect of —C2H5 group. Therefore phenol is stronger acid than ethanol. On the other hand ethanol is weaker acid than water because electron releasing —C2H5 group in ethanol inreases the electron density on oxygen and hence the polarity of O—H bond in ethanol decreases which results in the decreasing acidic strength. Hence acidic strength increases in the order given above.

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