# Why does the carbonyl of carboxylic acids get protonated and not the hydroxyl group?

Is the O of the C=O group more electronegative or is it for the sake of getting from product A to B that the carbonyl is protonated rather than the hydroxyl?

• I suppose it because $\ce{R-C^{+}(OH)2}$ is more preferred. I think protonation of both oxygens is possible, but the symmetric structures is more stable. Apr 15 '19 at 7:27