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For question 3.37, why would the answer be phosphorus specifically and not, say nitrogen, or any of the other period 3 elements. Would they not all work due to having 5 valence electrons. In general, how does one figure out an unknown element from a lewis structure?
It specifically says "period 3 element" which is Na through Ar, and nitrogen is a period 2 element. On top of this, the central atom does not strictly follow the octet rule which is also an indication that it would not be nitrogen.
Lavelle hasn't gone over this so I'm not 100% certain, but I would use the charges of the known elements in the lewis structure, count the number of shared electrons/bonds the central element has, and count the total number of electrons the lewis structure contains. I think all of these would help specify the unknown element.
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