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Does it matter where the unpaired electron is placed in a molecule? There was a question (focus 2.61 -7th edition) that asked whether HOCO was a radical and why so I placed the unpaired electron on the oxygen and gave carbon its octet but the solutions manual said that it was a radical because carbon had an unpaired electron. Wouldn't the molecule be more stable if O had the unpaired electron?
I believe that a single unpaired electron goes to the oxygen because it is more electronegative than the carbon. The carbon then becomes the radical and, if it is surrounded by a single unpaired electron, a single bond, and a double bond, it has a formal charge of zero.
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