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Why is the hydrogen not attached to the carbon in HOCO? Usually when bonded to hydrogens and oxygens, carbon is the main central atom, so I was confused why the correct structure has the hydrogen attached to the oxygen atom and not the carbon atom?
i think the way that the molecule is written is indicative of the way that the elements are bonded and structured. that is why it is not written as CHO2. that is why the H is bonded to the O and not to the C. The C also is the radical this structure.
There are two hints that tell you that hydrogen is attached to oxygen. One is the name since it is next to oxygen in the name. The second part is after calculating formal charges, it would become apparent that H should be attached to O. It makes it more stable to have it on oxygen than on carbon in this case.
Another (organic) approach to this problem is to recognize that HOCO is simply a rearrangement of -COOH, the general formula of a carboxylic acid (an organic functional group). Knowing that organic molecules are chains or rings of C, we can conclude that the radical is placed on the carbon atom.
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