Their hydrocarbon radicals
make them good solvents for organic compounds, and their polar -OH
groups tend to make them miscible with water (right).
Hence they can bring into aqeuous solution organic molecules that
will not dissolve in pure water by themselves.
They are used extensively as solvents and cleaners, because greases
and oils are dissolved by the hydrocarbon radicals, and the alcohol
and grease solution can then be washed away with water.