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Not all elements can hold more than an octet, but when you're dealing with the ones that can like S and P, if the formal charge of the elements would be closer to 0 after breaking the octet rule, then you should break the octet.
From my knowledge and TA comments, I have the impression that the octet is the first thing to satisfy when drawing a lewis structure. Then once each octet is full, you can rearrange the electrons to create the closest formal charge to zero.
Kelly Zhang 1L wrote:For elements with expanded octets, is there no maximum number of bonds it's allowed to have? Is it just the number of bonds that will satisfy the lowest formal charge rule?
Yes as long as the element doesn't exceed the amount of valence electrons it has (which should not be a problem because formal charge accounts for that)
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