# The molecular geometry of water is tetrahedral, but its molecular shape is bent. Is this contradictory?

About the $O$ atom in the water molecule there are 2 non-bonding lone pairs, and 2 bonds to hydrogen. VSEPR tells us that the most energy stable disposition of these electron pairs is as a tetrahedron. But we describe molecular shape in terms of the bound atoms: that is as a "bent" $H - O - H$ structure where the lone pairs compress the $\angle O {H}_{2}$ bond angle.