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HOCO was considered a radical because it had an uneven number of electrons, but the actual sturcture of it changes from when you look in the book at it being a radical to when you look on the internet as being an ion (the book being a line, the internet having all of the other atoms connected to the carbon).
It was a radical. If you added up the valence electrons it had an odd number. HOCO does not have a charge so all the formal charges had to add up to zero. The way to make this happen is to have the carbon double bond to one oxygen, and single bond to another (this oxygen is bonded to the hydrogen). That still leaves one free electron and carbon without a formal charge of +1. So, you add the free radical to the carbon to make its formal charge 0. Go to the wiki page of "hydrocarboxyl" and look at the top right corner. there is a lewis structure there
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