Lewis Structure of PH4+ (With 6 Simple Steps to Draw!)

Lewis Structure of PH4+

Ready to learn how to draw the lewis structure of PH4+ ion?


Here, I have explained 6 simple steps to draw the lewis dot structure of PH4+ ion (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 PH4+ ion contains four single bonds between each Phosphorus (P) and Hydrogen (H) atoms. The Phosphorus atom (P) is at the center and it is surrounded by 4 Hydrogen atoms (H). The Phosphorus atom has +1 formal charge.

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 PH4+ ion).

6 Steps to Draw the Lewis Structure of PH4+

Step #1: Calculate the total number of valence electrons

Here, the given ion is PH4+. In order to draw the lewis structure of PH4+ ion, first of all you have to find the total number of valence electrons present in the PH4+ ion.
(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 PH4+

  • For Phosphorus: 

Phosphorus is a group 15 element on the periodic table. [1]

Hence, the valence electrons present in phosphorus is 5 (see below image).

  • For Hydrogen: 

Hydrogen is a group 1 element on the periodic table. [2]

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

Hence in a PH4+ ion, 

Valence electrons given by Phosphorus (P) atom = 5
Valence electron given by each Hydrogen (H) atom = 1
The +1 charge indicates that one electron is less
So, total number of Valence electrons in PH4+ ion = 5 + 1(4) -1 = 8

Step #2: Select the center atom (H is always outside)

While selecting the center atom, always put the least electronegative atom at the center.

(Remember: Fluorine is the most electronegative element on the periodic table and the electronegativity decreases as we move right to left in the periodic table as well as top to bottom in the periodic table). [3]

Here in the PH4 molecule, if we compare the phosphorus atom (P) and hydrogen atom (H), then hydrogen is less electronegative than phosphorus. But as per the rule, we have to keep hydrogen outside.

So, phosphorus should be placed in the center and the remaining 4 hydrogen atoms will surround it.

step 1

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

Now in the above sketch of PH4 molecule, put the two electrons (i.e electron pair) between each phosphorus atom and hydrogen atom to represent a chemical bond between them.

step 2

These pairs of electrons present between the Phosphorus (P) and Hydrogen (H) atoms form a chemical bond, which bonds the phosphorus and hydrogen atoms with each other in a PH4 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 PH4+, the outer atoms are hydrogen atoms.

So now, you have to check whether these hydrogen atoms are forming a duplet or not! (because hydrogen requires only 2 electrons to have a complete outer shell).

step 3

You can see in the above image that all the hydrogen atoms form a duplet.

Also, all the 8 valence electrons of PH4+ ion (as calculated in step #1) are used in the above structure. So there are no remaining electron pairs.

Hence there is no change in the above sketch of PH4.

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 phosphorus) has an octet or not. 

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

step 4

As you can see from the above image, the central atom (i.e phosphorus), is having 8 electrons. So it fulfills the octet rule and the phosphorus 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 phosphorus atom (P) as well as each hydrogen atom (H).

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

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

step 5
  • For Phosphorus:
    Valence electrons = 5 (as it is in group 15)
    Nonbonding electrons = 0
    Bonding electrons = 8
  • For Hydrogen:
    Valence electron = 1 (as it is in group 1)
    Nonbonding electrons = 0
    Bonding electrons = 2
Formal charge=Valence electronsNonbonding electrons(Bonding electrons)/2

Let’s keep this charge on the phosphorus atom in the above lewis structure of PH4 molecule.

step 6

As you can see in the above sketch, there is one +ve charge on the phosphorus atom, which indicates the +1 formal charge on the PH4 molecule.

Hence, the above lewis structure of PH4+ ion is the stable lewis structure.

Each electron pair (:) in the lewis dot structure of PH4+ ion represents the single bond ( | ). So the above lewis dot structure of PH4+ ion can also be represented as shown below.

ph4+ lewis structure

Related lewis structures for your practice:
Lewis Structure of SHF
Lewis Structure of SeS3
Lewis Structure of IBr5
Lewis Structure of AsI3
Lewis Structure of SbF6- 

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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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