When writing and naming covalent compounds, the details can seem minor. Like, is H2O really that different than HO2 or H2O2? . . . YES!
Just one extra H or O completely changes the identity (and reactivity) of a substance. H2O is remarkably stable, but HO2 and H2O2 are highly reactive.
While the ratios of elements in an Ionic Compound are determined by the ions’ charges, Covalent Compounds are different in that they can consist of the same elements but in different ratios. When the cation Ca2+ combines with anion Cl- to form the ionic compound CaCl2, the ratio is always 1 Ca for every 2 Cl. However, when the nonmetal H combines with the nonmetal O, various Covalent Compounds can be formed including H2O, HO2, and H2O2.
As complicated as this sounds, forming and naming covalent compounds is really quite simple. Check out this guide for tips!
Click here for the free pdf guide on Writing and Naming Covalent Compounds.