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In the answer key, I found that when we draw a Lewis structure for an ion, we need to put parenthesis after drawing the diagram and the write the charge on the up right corner. I wonder if it is a necessary step or just a better representation?
It is a necessary step for the purposes of drawing a correct Lewis structure. If the ion is not bracketed with its charge then there can be significant confusion about the charge of the ion as well as the formal charges of the atoms in the ion. It is best to always put the brackets and denote charge.
It is a necessary step, and if on a test you were to leave off the brackets and charge in your answer you would likely be docked points. It also helps when drawing the lewis structure of a salt which contains two or more ions, since the different ions must be separated by brackets to obtain the correct lewis structure.
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