I was reading a chapter on acids and bases .It said something about acetic acid.And then I thought whether I could write CH3COOH as C2H4O2? please explain your answer.


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    $\begingroup$ Yes you can, if you like being misunderstood. There are several $\ce{C2H4O2}$'s, but only one $\ce{CH3COOH}$. What you absolutely can't do is getting you uppercase/lowercase letters wrong. In chemistry, like in some programming languages, this is considered a major infraction. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ oh sorry i will just gloss that up. thanks for the info, sir! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 16:05

1 Answer 1


$\ce{C2H4O2}$ is the molecular formula of acetic acid. As such, it's a correct method to write the molecule. However, you should note that, as Ivan Neretin mentioned, molecular formulae are not necessarily unique for a given molecule.


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