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

1 Answer
Jan 2, 2017

Answer:

An old chestnut; the #"ite"# ending usually designates the next LOWER oxidation state. It generally relates to ions that contain more than one oxygen atom.

Explanation:

Sodium sulfate versus sodium sulfite, #Na_2SO_4# versus #Na_2SO_3#. In the sulfate, sulfur expresses its maximum oxidation state, #S(+VI)#; in the sulfite, #Na_2SO_3#, we have #S(+IV)#.

Take perchlorates, and chlorates: #ClO_4^-# versus #ClO_3^-#, i.e. #Cl(+VII)# versus #Cl(+V)#. And then there are chlorites and hypochlorites. This naming system is a bit old-fashioned, and tends not to be used anymore.