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In this observation, the H+ ion picks up (or accepts) a pair of electrons from the OH2 ion to form a new covalent bond. As a result, any substance that can act as an acceptor of electron pair is a Lewis acid (such as the H+ ion).

The pair of electrons that went into the new covalent bond were donated by the OH2 ion. Lewis therefore argued that any substance that can act as a donor of electron pair is a Lewis base (such as the OH2 ion).

Whereas the Lewis acid-base theory does not contradict Bronsted theory, as "bases" in Bronsted theory must have a pair of nonbonding electrons in order to accept a proton, it expands the family of compounds that can be called "acids": any compound that has one or more empty valence-shell orbital and provides an explanation for the instantaneous reaction of boron triflouride (BF3) with ammonia (NH3). The nonbonding electrons on the nitrogen in NH3 are donated into an empty orbital on the boron to form a new covalent bond, as shown in Eq. 13.

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