if you were to draw a Lewis dot structure for HOCl...would it be H:Cl:O: (with double dots above & below the Oxygen & Chlorine) or would it be:
H:O:Cl: (same thing for the double dots being above & below the Cl & O? Oxygen the central atom in this case or is Cl the central atom? H is obviously a terminal atom.

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  1. HOCl forms from OCl- + H+ and vice versa.
    the anion is hypocholrite (OCl-). Given the attaching proton is positively charged and out of O and Cl, O is more nucleophilic (Cl has the highest electronegativity), the H will attach to the O atom making the oxygen the cetral atom.
    I.e., H:O:Cl: is strucutally correct.

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  2. Although we often write HClO as the formula for hypochlorous acid (I know I do that), I agree with xX_Supaman_xX that HOCl is the proper way with O being the central atom. A rule to help with this is worth remembering. USUALLY, the least electronegative element (in this case O) is the central atom. A corollary to that is that H is never the central atom.

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