How would you distinguish experimentally between an alcohol and a carboxylic acid?
We can distinguish between an alcohol and a carboxylic acid on the basis of their reaction with carbonates and hydrogen carbonates. Acid reacts with carbonate and hydrogen carbonate to evolve CO2gas that turns lime water milky.
Metal Carbonate/Metal Hydrogencarbonate + Carboxylic acid
Alcohols, on the other hand, do not react with carbonates and hydrogen carbonates.