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an electron arrangement diagram showing covalent bonding between a hydrogen and a chlorine atom. All electron shells of the chlorine atom is shown.

an electron arrangement diagram showing covalent bonding between a hydrogen and a chlorine atom. Only the valence electrons are shown.

Which electron arrangement diagram is correct? The one that shows all electron shells or the one that only shown the valence electron shell?

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Both are correct: for $\ce{Cl-}$, the inner set of electrons would be implicit, as $\ce{Cl}$ has 17 electrons. The point of drawing these orbital diagrams, especially in a molecular context, is to show the nature of bonds and to show how the octet/duplet rules are being followed.

If you have difficulties in using the second diagram (finding it harder to read or are confused by the similarities in $\ce{H}$ and $\ce{Cl}$), you should use the first diagram.

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  • $\begingroup$ First paragraph is good. I disagree with the second. If you try to draw all the electrons for iodide you have a mess. $\endgroup$
    – MaxW
    Apr 2 '20 at 6:27
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    $\begingroup$ @MaxW I assumed OP was just beginning to study chemistry and would find it easier for covalent compounds made from the first 20 elements. $\endgroup$ Apr 2 '20 at 6:44

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