Two electrically neutral analytes previously observed to be separated from the neutral marker in capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) experiments [sulphanilamide (SAA) and sulphaguanidine (SGW)] have been examined to determine the basis for separation. The degree of separation increases markedly with buffer concentration and improves with increasing field strength. On the basis of the apparent electrophoretic mobilities in conventional CZE, migration times in a zero EOF environment were calculated for SAA, SGW and six other sulphonamides that were known to be ionized. These six markers were used to test the legitimacy of our predictions and to correct for small discrepancies between the predicted and observed migration times. It was concluded that SAA and SGW have negligible electrophoretic mobilities and that they are retained in the electrical double layer close to the capillary wall. A mechanism for adsorption is proposed and the generality of the phenomenon is discussed.