Distinguishing between using () and []  [ENDORSED]

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Delacey Rodriguez 1D
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Distinguishing between using () and []

Postby Delacey Rodriguez 1D » Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:59 pm

Can someone explain when we would use the brackets compared to using parentheses?

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Re: Distinguishing between using () and []  [ENDORSED]

Postby Chem_Mod » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:59 pm

Stuff in [] (brackets) usually denote a molecule that is charged and part of a salt. We commonly see this used in transition metal salts, like [Co(NH3)6]Cl3. The stuff inside the brackets has a +3 charge, while the 3 Chlorines outside the bracket contribute a negative charge, each.

Parenthesis are often used to notify the reader that whatever is inside the parenthesis is grouped together. In the example I provided above, we know that (NH3)6 is 6 ammonia ligands. If the parenthesis weren't present we can see how this would be pretty ambiguous and complicated. Do we have 18 hydrogens? 6 nitrogens? maybe 6 nitrogens bonded all together? You get the idea...

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