Formal Charge and Dot Structures
Sometimes we can draw more than one Lewis structure for a given molecule or polyatomic ion that are not equivalent. In this case, we use a concept called formal charge to determine, which Lewis structure is best. Formal charge is not actually a charge; rather, it is just a system to keep track of electrons in a given Lewis structure.
Watch these two videos, which teach you the rules for assigning formal charge to atoms in a Lewis structure, and show examples of using formal charge to determine the best possible Lewis structure for a given molecule.
Source: Khan Academy, https://youtu.be/Kv5y3t9jsi4, https://youtu.be/dNPs-cr_6Bk
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