## Drawing Lewis Structures

aphung1E
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### Drawing Lewis Structures

When drawing regular lewis structures do you always have to draw them where their formal charges are zero?

Posts: 87
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:15 am

### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

No, but all of the formal must add up to the overall charge of the atom. Hope this helps!

romina_4C
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

As mentioned above, the overall charges should add up to the charge of the molecule. However, you usually want more of the atoms to have a formal charge of zero, so if you can make a structure in which the overall formal charges add up to the charge of the molecule and have the atoms where it's possible have a formal charge of zero, that is more stable (for example, if the overall charge of a molecule is -1, then it is more stable to have atoms that have a formal charge of 0 and -1 than atoms with formal charges of +1 and -2).

andrewcj 2C
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

I learned that you should try to minimize the absolute charge on the atoms in the molecule/ion. Therefore, if an ion has an overall +1 charge, it should be achieved by 0 charges and a single +1 charge, instead of say a -3 and a +4 charge.

Sanjana Munagala_1j
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

Another important rule to note is that if an atom does have to a formal charge, it is more stable for a negative formal charge to be placed on the atom with the higher electronegativity, since that is the atom that pulls on electrons more and thus achieves that negative charge.

Hope that helps!

Astrid Lunde 1I
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

No, not every atom has to have a formal charge of 0 but they all have to add up to 0 to make the formal charge of the molecule 0.

Sjeffrey_1C
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

The main goal is to minimize charges. So however you can get the charges to be lowest, while still adding up to the total charge and following octet rules etc. Placing larger charges on more electronegative elements is also important.

Mariah
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

I think the only time you have to make sure the formal charges are zero is when it asks to draw the most stable version.

MBouwman_4A
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

You should draw the Lewis structure so that the sum of the formal charges is the charge of the overall molecule, which may not necessarily be zero.

SajaZidan_1K
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:15 am

### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

Try to draw the lewis structure where it will be the most stable unless the questions asks you otherwise or to match the charge on the molecule given in the question. Ultimately, make sure you are addressing the question.

Rebekah Alfred 1J
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

When drawing Lewis structures, keep in mind that you should avoid placing a negative formal charge on the central atom.

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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

aphung1G wrote:When drawing regular lewis structures do you always have to draw them where their formal charges are zero?

The lower the formal charge, the more stable the structure. In theory, yes the formal charges for each atom doesn't have to be zero, but the closer to zero the better, because of this stability.

Osvaldo SanchezF -1H
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

When you draw lewis structures, they don't always have to have 0 formal charges and indeed it just depends on the molecule. The molecule itself could be positively charged or negatively charged and this means that for sure one of the atoms will have to be with a charge. When drawing the "best" Lewis structure however you want to make is that it is in the lowest possible state so you want as many 0 charges for the atoms unless they need it and sometimes you have to decide where the negative or positive charge will go more appropriately. Like if there needs to be a negative charge and there is two atoms, a C and O then you obviously want the O to hold the negative charge because it is more favorable this way.

Emil Velasco 1H
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

When you draw Lewis structures, you just try to get the lowest energy structure possible, typically with a 0 formal charge where possible. If not, I think you just make the entire charge of the atom match what is given.

AmyL_3L
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Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:17 am

### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

Lewis structures should have formal charges closest to zero as much as possible. The formal charges of each atom should sum up to equal the overall charge, which varies for some molecules; If a molecule has an overall charge of zero, then the formal charges of each atom should most preferably be zero, or at least close to zero.

Jasmine 2C
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

You don't always need to write in the atom's formal charges next to elements but you should always draw them in consideration of formal charges because formal charges closest to 0 means the molecule is most stable, which is what we are aiming for. But don't just draw them so everything has a formal charge of 0 because some molecules have specific net charges which your formal charges should sum up to.

305376058
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

They should not always have a formal charge of zero. Instead, the formal charges should equal to the overall charge of what you are drawing.

Shail Avasthi 2C
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

As others have said, formal charges must add up to the overall charge of the molecule you are drawing. However, when it comes to determining which atom(s) gets the non-zero formal charge(s), use electronegativity. For example, if you draw the lewis structure for the chlorate ion (ClO3-), when deciding whether the Cl or the O should get the -1 formal charge, notice that oxygen is more electronegative than chlorine, and therefore would prefer to have the -1 over the chlorine.

kristi le 2F
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### Re: Drawing Lewis Structures

The formal charges don't necessarily have to be zero, but you should try to minimize formal charge as much as possible for a more stable molecule.