# Finding the Right Lewis Structure: Formal Charge

• Dell
In summary, when dealing with Lewis structures, if there are multiple structures that seem correct, it is important to check the formal charge. One diagram may have a formal charge of 0:1:-1:1:1 while another may have a formal charge of 0:0:0:0:2. In this case, it is preferable to have a complete octet for all atoms, but if there is a choice between spreading the formal charge or having it all on one atom, it is better to spread it out. However, it is difficult to give a specific example where this would be applicable without more context.
Dell
with lewis structures, if i come to 2 separate structures that both seem right, and i want to know which is right, and i check the formal charge, and get:
for one diagram

0:1:-1:1:1

and for the other
0:0:0:0:2

which is better, i guess what I am trying to ask is, is it preferable to have a minimal FC overall, but spread over all the atoms, or as many atoms as close to zero as i can??

It is preferable to have a complete octet around everything and let the FC chips fall where they may...

that i know, but if i have a complete octet for all the atoms but can either spread the FC between them or have all the FC on one, what is better

Give us your example. I can't think of an example where that would be the case off the top of my head...

## 1. What is the purpose of finding the right Lewis structure?

Finding the right Lewis structure allows us to accurately represent the arrangement of electrons in a molecule, which is important for understanding its chemical and physical properties.

## 2. How do you determine the formal charge in a Lewis structure?

The formal charge is calculated by subtracting the number of lone pair electrons and half the number of bonding electrons from the number of valence electrons for each atom in the molecule.

## 3. What is the significance of formal charge in a molecule?

Formal charge helps us determine the most stable arrangement of electrons in a molecule, which can affect its reactivity and overall stability. It also allows us to compare different Lewis structures and choose the most likely one.

## 4. Can a molecule have a formal charge of zero?

Yes, a molecule can have a formal charge of zero when the total number of valence electrons is equal to the sum of the formal charges on each atom. This is considered the most stable arrangement.

## 5. What should be considered when determining the best Lewis structure for a molecule?

When determining the best Lewis structure, we should consider the formal charges on each atom, the octet rule, and the overall stability of the molecule based on formal charge distribution and electronegativity differences between atoms.

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