# Assigning Formal Charges

In chemistry, a formal charge (FC) is the charge assigned to an atom in a molecule, assuming that electrons in a chemical bond are shared equally between atoms, regardless of relative electronegativity.

The electrons of an atom have negative charges that are balanced by the positive charges of the protons.

With the negative and positive charges canceling each other, the atom's overall charge is neutralized.

See the Related Questions links at the bottom of the page for more information about how to do this. If youre looking for the formal charge of the Molecule HCO2- then its just the -1.

If youre looking for individual Atom formal charges, dram the lewis diagram of the entire atom.

Only the single bonded oxygen has a formal charge of -1, limiting formal change… This is possible because of the equal numbers of (positive) protons and (negative) electrons, each plus charge is compensated by one (equally negative) minus charge.

In a electrically neutral atom, the number of positive charges in the atom's nucleus (with one charge being held on each proton in the nucleus), is balanced out by the number of negative charges present in the electron cloud round the nucleus (with one charge being held on each electron in the cloud).

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Potassium and chlorine atoms have the same charge, specifically 0.

However, if one atom of each of these elements encounters an atom of the other, the potassium atom will transfer one of its electrons to the chlorine atom, leading to potassium ions and chloride ions, which do have opposite charges.

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When determining the formal charge of a molecule such as CoCl2 phosgene gas. Assign each atom one electron from each bond in which it participates.…