# An -ate or -ite at the end of a compound name usually indicates that the compound contains what?

An old chestnut; the $\text{ite}$ ending usually designates the next LOWER oxidation state. It generally relates to ions that contain more than one oxygen atom.
Sodium sulfate versus sodium sulfite, $N {a}_{2} S {O}_{4}$ versus $N {a}_{2} S {O}_{3}$. In the sulfate, sulfur expresses its maximum oxidation state, $S \left(+ V I\right)$; in the sulfite, $N {a}_{2} S {O}_{3}$, we have $S \left(+ I V\right)$.
Take perchlorates, and chlorates: $C l {O}_{4}^{-}$ versus $C l {O}_{3}^{-}$, i.e. $C l \left(+ V I I\right)$ versus $C l \left(+ V\right)$. And then there are chlorites and hypochlorites. This naming system is a bit old-fashioned, and tends not to be used anymore.