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Since the hydrogen atom has only one proton and one electron, when the electron is removed from the atom, the atom exists as a solitary proton. Thus H+ atoms are simply free protons. When the H+ is able to bond to form a larger molecule, the molecule has one or more protons bonded to it. Ergo a molecule, or more specifically, an acid that has only one H+ bonded to it is monoprotic. This means that acids like HNO3 and HCl are monoprotic. However, it is worth mentioning that monoprotic only refers to the number of hydrogen atoms that can be ionized; for example, CH3COOH has four hydrogen atoms within the molecule, but the hydrogen atoms within the acetate anion (CH3COO) cannot be ionized, so CH3COOH is monoprotic.
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