We report in-situ production and detection of intermediates at graphenic surfaces, especially during alcohol oxidation. Alcohol oxidation to acid occurs on graphene oxide-coated paper surface, driven by an electrical potential, in a paper spray mass spectrometry experiment. As paper spray ionization is a fast process and the time scale matches with the reaction time scale, we were able to detect the intermediate, acetal. This is the first observation of acetal formed in surface oxidation. The process is not limited to alcohols and the reaction has been extended to aldehydes, amines, phosphenes, sugars, etc.; where reaction products were detected instantaneously. By combining surface reactions with ambient ionization and mass spectrometry, we show that new insights into chemical reactions become feasible. We suggest that several other chemical transformations may be studied this way. This work opens up a new pathway for different industrially and energetically important reactions using different metal catalysts and modified substrate. [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2013 American Society for Mass Spectrometry.