# Maximum hydrogen atom bonds per a single carbon atom

I was solving a chemical formula which includes a carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen compound. And it turned out to be something like this:

$$\ce{C_nH_{4n}O}$$

when $n$ is a natural number. So that, at least ostensibly, can be one of these:

$$\ce{CH4O, C2H8O, C3H12O, C4H16O, ...}$$

But a solution attached to it said

The only compound which has $\ce{C_nH_{4n}O}$ as the empirical formula is $\ce{CH4O}$

so the molecular formula is confirmed as above. So simply my question is this: why is that the only one which makes sense in this situation?

• This is the only one which makes sense because the others do not make sense. Try to compose a structural formula for any of them and see what happens. – Ivan Neretin Aug 4 '17 at 12:26
• Well, technically there is ethane hydrate clathrate for $\ce{C2H8O}$, stable above $\pu{0.1 GPa}$ (Ceppatelli, M.; Bini, R.; Schettino, V. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2011, 13 (4), 1264–1275. DOI 10.1039/c0cp01318h). – andselisk Aug 4 '17 at 12:49