# How does a Sulfur -2 ion differ from a neutral Sulfur atom?

Elemental sulfur, or sulfur in a neutral element has 6 electrons associated with it, and is therefore neutral. ${S}^{2 -}$ ions has 8 electrons, and therefore bears a 2- minus charge.
Sulfur in thioether, $R - S - R$, or ${H}_{2} S$, has 2 lone pairs and an electron from each of the bonds. When it's charge is determined these $6 {e}^{-}$ are balanced by the nuclear charge. In these situations sulfur is neutral. For $H {S}^{-}$ or ${S}^{2 -}$, there are 7 and 8 electrons associated with the respective sulfur centres, and these bear formal charges of $- 1$, and $- 2$.