Kaolinite and synthetic γ-Al(OH)3 (gibbsite or hydrargillite) were reacted with phenylphosphonic, phenylphosphinic and 2-nitrophenol-4-arsonic acids. The products were studied by powder X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy/selected area electron diffraction/ energy dispersive X-ray/Fourier transform infrared and simultaneous thermogravimetric/differential thermal analysis. The acids were not intercalated but, instead, easily destroyed the structure of the minerals. Lamellar Al phenylphosphonate and aluminium phenylphosphinate and phenylarsonate with polymeric linear-chain structures were formed from kaolinite. The reaction between gibbsite and the same acids yielded almost identical products. No evidence of formation of grafted kaolinite derivatives after the reaction with phenylphosphonic acid was found.