# How can empirical and molecular formulas be the same?

Feb 17, 2017

An empirical formula gives the ratio of the elements involved, reduced to the smallest numbers.

#### Explanation:

Example :
Let's say that the empirical formula is $C {H}_{2} O$. This means that carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are present in the ratio $1 \div 2 \div 1$.

So any compound with this ratio will do:
${C}_{6} {H}_{12} {O}_{6}$ (glucose) is one of them, among many, many others.

But there is also a compound $C {H}_{2} O$, formaldehyde (methanal), that is just that: $C {H}_{2} O$. So, in this case empirical=molecular.