When balancing chemical equations

1. Jun 13, 2005

J_o_S

why can't the chemical formulas be altered?

I was asked this question, and my answer was because if you alter the formulas you're dealing with totally different chemicals, and therefore a different equation.

Seems like such a simple question, but its surrounded by harder ones which makes me worry so I just wanted to see if I was missing anything. Thanks

2. Jun 13, 2005

whozum

Sounds right to me. Although I would say