It is controversial whether organic fluorine can form energetically important hydrogen bonds in aqueous environments. We previously showed by NMR and molecular modeling that the unexpectedly high binding affinity of 2'F-ANA is largely due to a C-H···F-C pseudohydrogen bond at pyrimidine-purine steps. Comparisons of the melting of duplexes with identical sequence composition but a rearranged sequence confirm that energetically important fluorine-mediated pseudohydrogen bonding is in operation in these sequences. The effect is of particular importance when the H-bond donor (purine H8) is activated by the presence of fluorine at its own 2'-position. These results provide a rational method to increase the binding affinity of antisense oligonucleotides by placement of 2'F-ANA modifications at pyrimidine-purine steps.