Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory allows fairly
accurate prediction of the 3-dimensional
shape of molecules from knowledge of their
Lewis Dot structure. In VSEPR theory, the
position of bound atoms (ligands) and electron pairs
are described relative to a central atom.
Once the ligands and lone pair electrons
are positioned, the resulting geometrical
shape presented by the atoms only (ignoring
lone pairs) is used to describe the molecule.
Below is a table showing examples of the most common geometries
encountered using the VSEPR theory. Clicking
the cursor on the example molecules will
allow you to view the 3-dimensional models. The
lone pairs of electrons on the central atom
are shown in pink as separate images.