# CHO2- Lewis structure

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CHO2 (formate) has one carbon atom, one hydrogen atom, and two oxygen atoms.

In the CHO2 Lewis structure, there are two single bonds and one double bond around the carbon atom, with one hydrogen atom and two oxygen atoms attached to it. The oxygen atom with a single bond has three lone pairs, and the oxygen atom with a double bond has two lone pairs.

Also, there is a negative (-1) charge on the oxygen atom with a single bond.

Contents

## Steps

Here’s how you can easily draw the CHO2 Lewis structure step by step:

#1 Draw a rough skeleton structure
#2 Mention lone pairs on the atoms
#3 If needed, mention formal charges on the atoms
#4 Minimize formal charges by converting lone pairs of the atoms, and try to get a stable Lewis structure
#5 Repeat step 4 again if needed, until all charges are minimized

Now, let’s take a closer look at each step mentioned above.

### #1 Draw a rough skeleton structure

• First, determine the total number of valence electrons

In the periodic table, carbon lies in group 14, hydrogen lies in group 1, and oxygen lies in group 16.

Hence, carbon has four valence electrons, hydrogen has one valence electron, and oxygen has six valence electrons.

Since CHO2 has one carbon atom, one hydrogen atom, and two oxygen atoms, so…

Valence electrons of one carbon atom = 4 × 1 = 4
Valence electrons of one hydrogen atom = 1 × 1 = 1
Valence electrons of two oxygen atoms = 6 × 2 = 12

Now the CHO2 has a negative (-1) charge, so we have to add one more electron.

So the total valence electrons = 4 + 1 + 12 + 1 = 18

• Second, find the total electron pairs

We have a total of 18 valence electrons. And when we divide this value by two, we get the value of total electron pairs.

Total electron pairs = total valence electrons ÷ 2

So the total electron pairs = 18 ÷ 2 = 9

• Third, determine the central atom

Here hydrogen can not be the central atom. Because the central atom is bonded with at least two other atoms, and hydrogen has only one electron in its last shell, so it can not make more than one bond.

Now we have to choose the central atom from carbon and oxygen. Place the least electronegative atom at the center.

Since carbon is less electronegative than oxygen, assume that the central atom is carbon.

Therefore, place carbon in the center and hydrogen and oxygen on either side.

• And finally, draw the rough sketch

### #2 Mention lone pairs on the atoms

Here, we have a total of 9 electron pairs. And three bonds are already marked. So we have to only mark the remaining six electron pairs as lone pairs on the sketch.

Also remember that both (carbon and oxygen) are the period 2 elements, so they can not keep more than 8 electrons in their last shell. And hydrogen is a period 1 element, so it can not keep more than 2 electrons in its last shell.

Always start to mark the lone pairs from outside atoms. Here, the outside atoms are hydrogen and oxygens. But no need to mark on hydrogen, because hydrogen already has two electrons.

So for each oxygen, there are three lone pairs, and for carbon, there is zero lone pair because all six electron pairs are over.

Mark the lone pairs on the sketch as follows:

### #3 If needed, mention formal charges on the atoms

Use the following formula to calculate the formal charges on atoms:

Formal charge = valence electrons – nonbonding electrons – ½ bonding electrons

For carbon atom, formal charge = 4 – 0 – ½ (6) = +1

For hydrogen atom, formal charge = 1 – 0 – ½ (2) = 0

For each oxygen atom, formal charge = 6 – 6 – ½ (2) = -1

Here, both carbon and oxygen atoms have charges, so mark them on the sketch as follows:

The above structure is not a stable Lewis structure because both carbon and oxygen atoms have charges. Therefore, reduce the charges (as below) by converting lone pairs to bonds.

### #4 Minimize formal charges by converting lone pairs of the atoms

Convert a lone pair of the oxygen atom to make a new C — O bond with the carbon atom as follows:

In the above structure, you can see that the central atom (carbon) forms an octet. The outside atoms (oxygens) also form an octet, and hydrogen forms a duet. Hence, the octet rule and duet rule are satisfied.

Now there is still a negative (-1) charge on the oxygen atom.

This is okay, because the structure with a negative charge on the most electronegative atom is the best Lewis structure. And in this case, the most electronegative element is oxygen.

Also, the above structure is more stable than the previous structures. Therefore, this structure is the most stable Lewis structure of CHO2.

And since the CHO2 has a negative (-1) charge, mention that charge on the Lewis structure by drawing brackets as follows:

Next: SeF4 Lewis structure

Deep

Learnool.com was founded by Deep Rana, who is a mechanical engineer by profession and a blogger by passion. He has a good conceptual knowledge on different educational topics and he provides the same on this website. He loves to learn something new everyday and believes that the best utilization of free time is developing a new skill.