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The central atom, most of the time, has to have at least 8 valence electrons, so the amount of bonds it forms depends on the other atoms in the compound. Atoms like phosphorous can be a central atom with an expanded octet of 10 atoms because it uses the d orbital. But it depends on the amount of other atoms involved in the molecule you're forming.
Keep track of the number of valence electrons it has by looking at what group it is under in the periodic table. The number of bonds can surpass that however if that central element is passed period 3 because these elements can use their 3d state to accommodate extra valence electrons past 8.
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