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We can break the octect rule when the bonding atom has empty d or f orbitals that are available for additional bonding. We should always find the optimized bonding with individual formal charge closest to zero. First try following the octect rule but if involving d or f orbitals would lead to more stable structure then break the octect rule.
we can break the octet rule when when there are available d or f orbitals (3rd row and below of the periodic table) and to get the most stable bonding (or get the formal charges of the atoms in the molecule closest to zero). I think on the tests, we are required to draw the most stable molecule, and if we can or need to break the octet rule in order to do that, we should.
You can only break the octet rule if the atom has extra electrons available from the d or f subshells. If not the rule cannot be broken and a maximum of 8 electrons must be used for that element. Only break the rule when it allows for a proper lewis structure to be formed.
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