Method for Lewis dot structures: The nitrate ion lewis structures | Chemistry Net

Method for Lewis dot structures: The nitrate ion lewis structures

Method for Lewis dot structures: The nitrate ion


Method for Lewis dot structures: The nitrate ion NO3-


A simple procedure for writing Lewis Dot Structures was given in a previous article entitled “Lewis Structures and the Octet Rule”. Several worked examples relevant to this procedure were given in previous posts please see the Sitemap - Table of Contents (Lewis Electron Dot Structures).

Let us consider the case of the nitrate ion NO3-. What are the Lewis electron dot structures of NO3-?

Step 1: Connect the atoms with single bonds.


Fig. I.1 : Connect the atoms of NO3- with single bonds


Step 2: Calculate the # of electrons in π bonds (multiple bonds) using formula (1) :

Where n in this case is 4. Where V = (5 +6*3) – (-1) = 24 , V is the number of valence electrons of the ion. Therefore, P = 6n + 2 – V = 6 * 4 + 2 – 24  = 2     So, there is 1 double bond.


Step 3 & 4: The Lewis dot resonance structures of the nitrate ion NO3- (NO3- Lewis structures) are as follows:


 Fig. I.2 : Plausible Lewis Resonance Dot Structures of NO3-


Therefore, there are 3 possible Lewis resonance structures for NO3- (NO3- Lewis structures).

The above simple four-step method for drawing Lewis structures is presented in the following video:




  1. G.N. Lewis, J.A.C.S, 38, 762-785, (1916)
  2.  E. C. McGoran, J. Chem. Educ., 68, 19-23 (1991)
  3. A.B.P. Lever, J. Chem. Educ., 49, 819-821, (1972)



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  1. what is the Lewis structure of NO?

    1. Please see the following post:

  2. Which of the above structures contributes more to the resonance?

    1. The above resonance structures are all equivalent because of the same charge separation and bond order. They are all contribute equally to the resonance.

  3. Why does the Nitrogen not have 2 double bonds and one single bond with the 3 oxygens? Doesn't that make the formal charges closer to 0 for all the elements?