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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 18 (2013) pp 275-279
DOI 10.1007/s00897132516

A Chemically Intuitive Procedure for Drawing Lewis Structures

Yimin Zhu

Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College, 3000 Ivyside Park, Altoona, PA 16601,
Received May 16, 2013. Accepted October 15, 2013.

Published: 18 October 2013

Abstract. Lewis structures are an important concept in introductory and general chemistry. It is well known that the octet rule leads to non-preferred Lewis structures for many chemical species. Less recognized is that the formal charge calculations, which is the prevailing approach in chemical education for drawing Lewis structures, also fails to give the preferred Lewis structures for some common compounds. Described here is a chemically intuitive procedure for drawing Lewis structures, which resembles a valence bond theory treatment. The electron assignments are based on electronegativity and the octet rule. This procedure may help students to more readily draw the most probable Lewis structures including those that do not adhere to the application of formal charges in determining the most probable structures.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; Lewis structure; structural formula

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