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### Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:21 pm**

by **AryaG_4C**

Does anyone know any short method or trends that make it easier to know/calculate the formal charge of an atom? Like creating a double bond would help the formal charge to be more towards zero etc?

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:27 pm**

by **Akshay Chellappa 1H**

From the chemistry review session on Friday one of the UA's showed us that you can draw a circle around one of the atoms and count everything within the circle, any loan pair electrons and the bonded electrons (the circle breaks any bond in half so just count like 2 instead of 4 if there is a double bond), and subtract that from the number of valence electrons that the atom has.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:35 pm**

by **Julie Park 1G**

Shortcut for formal charge:

# ve- (a neutral atom of the element would have) - (sum of # unpaired electrons + bonds)

Note:

a. count each unpaired electron attached to the atom as a single value

b. count each bond as a single value

For example, say that Nitrogen was surrounded by 1 double bond and 2 unpaired valence electrons. You know that a neutral atom of nitrogen should have 5ve-. Therefore, to find the FC, you would do: 5(ve-) - ( 2 (for each bond in the double bond) + 2 (for each unpaired electron) )

To get 5 - (2+2) or 5-4 which equals 1. The formal charge would be +1

Note: this is just a random theoretical example... not sure if this specific situation is possible

I recommend this youtube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J03H472fAKIIn terms of finding out how you could make the formal charge closer to 0, I guess you could see if it's possible to adjust the number of bonds or unpaired e- relative to the # of valence electrons. For example, since nitrogen has 5ve-, I would try to see if you could change the sum of the # of unpaired e- and bonds so that it equals 5. That way, since 5-5=0, you would get a FC of 0.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:15 pm**

by **selatran1h**

to calculate formal charge, add up the number of electrons surrounding the atom in the lewis structure with the number of bonds attached to it. subtract this value from the number of valence electrons the original atom has to find the formal charge

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:17 pm**

by **xenamclean_1G**

What I do to make it faster is subtract the # of electrons for the element in the structure (counting a bond as one) from the valence electrons of that element.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:21 pm**

by **Lizette Noriega 1H**

(# of valence electrons) - (# of electrons + # of bonds) = formal charge

or if you want an even simpler way of thinking about it: (# of valence electrons) - (# of dots + # of lines)

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:39 pm**

by **Jenna Ortiguerra 4G**

A shortcut that I use to find formal charge is to find the amount of valence electrons an element has. Then you would draw the Lewis of the compound. To find the formal charge of an element, you would count each bond (essentially each line) as 1, and each lone pair (essentially each dot) as one, then you would add these up. If the amount of valence electrons in the element is the same as the number you counted, the formal charge would be 0. If the amount that you counted os different than the amount of valence electrons of the element, you would subtract the two numbers (# of VE - #of dots and lines).

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:38 pm**

by **Jorge Ramirez_4H**

Just count everything around that certain element and if needed subtract the number of initial electrons to the number of lines/dots around the element.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:16 pm**

by **Abigail_Hagen2G**

Just think about the number of lone electrons and the number of lines.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:28 pm**

by **Merin Padayatty 3G**

A quick way to calculate formal charge is to count subtract the sum of the number of lone electrons and bonds by the number of valence electrons.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:08 pm**

by **Nicholas_Gladkov_2J**

AryaG_4C wrote:Does anyone know any short method or trends that make it easier to know/calculate the formal charge of an atom? Like creating a double bond would help the formal charge to be more towards zero etc?

For formal change, a fast way to check (although you should do the calculation (FC = valence - (#bonded e-/2 + e- in lone pair)) is to have the number of valence electrons and subtract the number of dots and number of lines. For example, oxygen with a double bond and two lone pairs is 6 valence electrons minus four dots and two lines, therefore the formal charge is zero. This work because you are taking the valence electrons and indeed subtracting the number of dots (e- in lone pairs) and lines (2 e- per single bond, but you are counting it as one, just like the equation where you divide the number of e- in a covalent bond by 2).

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Sat Nov 30, 2019 5:11 pm**

by **Drake Choi_1I**

I have a shortcut for H O N C. If Hydrogen has 1 bond, oxygen 2, nitrogen 3, carbon 4 then the formal charges will be 0.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:55 am**

by **AnayaArnold_3L**

a quick shortcut is the just see how many atoms are surrounding whichever molecule you are trying to find the formal charge for and then subtract the valence electrons from that value.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:54 pm**

by **Kaitlynn Tran 3F**

I count each Lewis dot and line around the atom to calculate formal charge. For example, on an oxygen atom that is double bonded to something, there would be 2 lines and 4 valence electrons, resulting in a formal charge of 6.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:18 pm**

by **Akshay Chellappa 1H**

Lyndon showed us that you can draw a circle around one of the atoms and count everything within the circle, any loan pair electrons and the bonded electrons (the circle breaks any bond in half so just count like 2 instead of 4 if there is a double bond), and subtract that from the number of valence electrons that the atom has.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Wed Nov 04, 2020 3:37 pm**

by **Raashi Chaudhari 3B**

A trick I learned in a step up session was to look at the element, (for ex. N) and see how many valence electrons it has (look at the group for this). Then subtract that number (in this case 5) by the number of "things" (the bond lines and electron dots). So if this N had a single bond and 2 lone pairs, it has 5 "things"; so, # valence e- (5) - # of things (5) = 0 Formal charge

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Thu Nov 05, 2020 4:13 pm**

by **Katherine_Douglas_1F**

Since it is a lot of work to write out the formulas every time, I just count up the electrons around an atom in a lewis diagram. Each line counts as 1 (shared/2) and each lone pair counts as 2. Then I just subtract that number from the number of valence electrons and it is easy math you can do in your head.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Thu Nov 05, 2020 4:13 pm**

by **Jonathan Batac - 2D**

I personally just count the number of lone pair electrons (or dots) and the individual bond. After added those two up, I subtract the valence electrons by that number.

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Fri Nov 06, 2020 1:29 am**

by **Yijia_Yang_3A**

What i do is count the valence electron and subtract from it the number of dots and lines

### Re: Shortcut for Formal Charge

Posted: **Fri Nov 06, 2020 1:58 am**

by **Hailey Kang 2K**

Hi!

I would say the easiest way to remember it is # of valence electrons- # of lines & dots around that element