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Why does the methyl group at the ortho-position stabilize the carboxylate ion? I recognize that there will be a steric clash between the carboxyl group and the methyl group but I don't understand why this would help increase acidity. If there was any resonance occurring then this steric clash would DESTABILIZE the anion and make it LESS acidic given that the carboxylate group would not be in the same plane as the ring and thus delocalization, which would stabilize negative charge, would be impossible. Clearly there is no conjugation with the aromatic ring in "benzoic acid based compounds" from the carboxylate group. So why does having a methyl group at the ortho-position increase acidity?