I am preparing for my exam, and then I stuck up here. The answer to this question given by my teacher was

No, this doesn't show resonance because there are two bulky groups alongside chlorine, due to this chlorine will leave the plane and as we know resonance is a planar phenomenon, it won't show resonance

My question to you is:

Why did chlorine leave the plane on the first place? And what is the whole concept behind it? Please help me with it.

My guess to this is that since these two groups are really big and bulky, and are present near Chlorine, they take up almost all the space around which causes chlorine to leave the plane.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In one line, it's Steric Inhibition of Resonance. $\endgroup$
    – Soumik Das
    May 21, 2019 at 6:12

1 Answer 1


2-chloro-1,3-dinitrobenzene is shown below:

enter image description here

I believe your question is referring to the lack of conjugation between the nitro groups and the aromatic ring. this is best shown in an X-ray crystal structure such as this one:

enter image description here


Due to the sterics between the nitro groups and the chloro substituent, the nitro groups cannot adopt a conformation planar with the ring. This prevents the $\pi$ system of the nitro group from achieving substantial overlap with the $\pi$ system of the ring and prevents full conjugation of the electrons. The sterics are better seen in a spacefilling view:

enter image description here

So, it is not the chloro group that is out of the plane, but rather the nitro groups.

  • $\begingroup$ That 3D rendition of the molecule's structure is not exactly an "X-ray crystal structure". $\endgroup$ May 20, 2019 at 21:17
  • $\begingroup$ @William R. Ebenezer. I will take it down if I am mistaken. It came from the Cambridge crystallographic database. Check the link and I will remove if you could explain my mistake. $\endgroup$
    – Withnail
    May 20, 2019 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Withnail thankyou so much. I understand it now ! $\endgroup$
    – Ishi
    May 21, 2019 at 3:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Withnail But hey, doesn't it go against common sense? $\endgroup$ May 21, 2019 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Withnail I can't find it, could you be more specific? $\endgroup$ May 21, 2019 at 3:43

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