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When nitric acid is protonated by sulfuric acid, why is the hydroxyl group protonated? There are two other possible oxygens with partial negative charge that would seem to be better proton acceptors.

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    $\begingroup$ Because that pathway leads to a reaction. Reaction mechanisms describe the sequence of steps required to reach a certain product. They don't describe every possible step that can occur. $\endgroup$ – bon Mar 14 '16 at 9:54
  • $\begingroup$ but shouldn't pathway resulted in product be likely to happen? $\endgroup$ – NK Yu Mar 15 '16 at 5:18
  • $\begingroup$ I think I understood it. Thank you^^ I should've thought more $\endgroup$ – NK Yu Mar 15 '16 at 5:58

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