# What is an oxidation reaction?

May 31, 2014

Very basically, an oxidation reaction is one which involves the loss of electrons.

Use this mnemonic to remember the difference between oxidation and reduction reactions: OIL RIG

Oxidation Is Loss
Reduction Is Gain

Here is an example of an oxidation reaction

$M g \to M {g}^{2 +} + 2 {e}^{-}$

In this reaction, the magnesium has lost two electrons - this is, thus, an oxidation reaction. Notice how it is different if the reverse reaction was to take place:

$M {g}^{2 +} + 2 {e}^{-} \to M g$

In this reaction, magnesium has gained two electrons - this is, thus, a reduction reaction.