Lewis Structure of HOCl (With 6 Simple Steps to Draw!)

Lewis Structure of HOCl

Ready to learn how to draw the lewis structure of HOCl?


Here, I have explained 6 simple steps to draw the lewis dot structure of HOCl (along with images).

So, if you are ready to go with these 6 simple steps, then let’s dive right into it!

Lewis structure of HOCl contains a single bond between the Hydrogen (H) & Oxygen (O) atom as well as between the Oxygen (O) and Chlorine (Cl) atom. The Oxygen atom (O) is at the center and it is surrounded by Hydrogen and Chlorine atom. The Oxygen has 2 lone pairs and the Chlorine has 3 lone pairs.

Let’s draw and understand this lewis dot structure step by step.

(Note: Take a pen and paper with you and try to draw this lewis structure along with me. I am sure you will definitely learn how to draw lewis structure of HOCl).

6 Steps to Draw the Lewis Structure of HOCl

Step #1: Calculate the total number of valence electrons

Here, the given molecule is HOCl. In order to draw the lewis structure of HOCl, first of all you have to find the total number of valence electrons present in the HOCl molecule.
(Valence electrons are the number of electrons present in the outermost shell of an atom).

So, let’s calculate this first.

Calculation of valence electrons in HOCl

  • For Hydrogen: 

Hydrogen is a group 1 element on the periodic table. [1]

Hence, the valence electron present in hydrogen is 1 (see below image).

  • For Oxygen:

Oxygen is a group 16 element on the periodic table. [2]

Hence, the valence electron present in oxygen is 6 (see below image).

  • For Chlorine:

Chlorine is a group 17 element on the periodic table. [3]

Hence, the valence electron present in chlorine is 7 (see below image).

Hence in a HOCl molecule, 

Valence electron given by Hydrogen (H) atom = 1
Valence electrons given by Oxygen (O) atom = 6
Valence electrons given by Chlorine (Cl) atom = 7
So, total number of Valence electrons in HOCl molecule = 1 + 6 + 7 = 14

Step #2: Make the rough sketch

From the chemical formula itself, you can get the idea that an oxygen atom is at the center which is surrounded by Hydrogen (H) and Chlorine (Cl) on the outer sides.

So let’s draw a rough sketch for the HOCl molecule.

step 1

Step #3: Put two electrons between the atoms to represent a chemical bond

Now in the above sketch of HOCl molecule, put the two electrons (i.e electron pair) between the hydrogen atom, oxygen atom and chlorine atom to represent a chemical bond between them.

step 2

These pairs of electrons present between the Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O) and Chlorine (Cl) atoms form a chemical bond, which bonds these atoms with each other in a HOCl molecule.

Step #4: Complete the octet (or duplet) on outside atoms. If the valence electrons are left, then put the valence electrons pair on the central atom

Don’t worry, I’ll explain!

In the Lewis structure of HOCl, the outer atoms are hydrogen atom and chlorine atom.

Hydrogen already has a duplet (see below image).

So now, you have to complete the octet on chlorine atom (because chlorine requires 8 electrons to have a complete outer shell).

step 3

Now, you can see in the above image that the chlorine atom forms an octet.

Also, only 10 valence electrons of HOCl molecule are used in the above structure.

But there are total 14 valence electrons in HOCl molecule (as calculated in step #1).

So the number of electrons left to be kept on the central atom = 14 – 10 = 4.

So let’s keep these four electrons (i.e 2 electron pairs) on the central atom.

step 4

Now, let’s move to the next step.

Step #5: Check whether the central atom has octet or not. If it does not have an octet, then move the electron pair from the outer atom to form a double bond or triple bond

In this step, we have to check whether the central atom (i.e oxygen) has an octet or not. 

In simple words, we have to check whether the central Oxygen (O) atom is having 8 electrons or not.

step 5

As you can see from the above image, the central atom (i.e oxygen), has 8 electrons. So it fulfills the octet rule and the oxygen atom is stable.

Step #6: Final step – Check the stability of lewis structure by calculating the formal charge on each atom

Now, you have come to the final step and here you have to check the formal charge on hydrogen atom (H), oxygen atom (O) as well as chlorine atom (Cl).

For that, you need to remember the formula of formal charge;

Formal charge = Valence electrons – Nonbonding electrons – (Bonding electrons)/2

step 6
  • For Hydrogen:
    Valence electrons = 1 (as it is in group 1)
    Nonbonding electrons = 0
    Bonding electrons = 2
  • For Oxygen:
    Valence electron = 6 (as it is in group 16)
    Nonbonding electrons = 4
    Bonding electrons = 4
  • For Chlorine:
    Valence electron = 7 (as it is in group 17)
    Nonbonding electrons = 6
    Bonding electrons = 2
Formal charge=Valence electronsNonbonding electrons(Bonding electrons)/2

So you can see above that the formal charges on hydrogen, oxygen as well as chlorine are “zero”.

Hence, there will not be any change in the above structure and the above lewis structure of HOCl is the final stable structure only.

Each electron pair (:) in the lewis dot structure of HOCl represents the single bond ( | ). So the above lewis dot structure of HOCl can also be represented as shown below.

HOCl Lewis structure

Related lewis structures for your practice:
Lewis Structure of C6H6 (Benzene)
Lewis Structure of NBr3
Lewis Structure of SeF4
Lewis Structure of H3PO4
Lewis Structure of H2Se 

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Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. With a desire to make learning accessible for everyone, he founded Knords Learning, an online learning platform that provides students with easily understandable explanations.

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