What is the charge on the polyatomic ions nitrite and chlorite?

1 Answer
Nov 27, 2015


Both have a charge of #-1#.


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This is the nitrite ion, in Lewis structure form. Notice how one oxygen has 6 valence electrons and the nitrogen ion has 5 valence electrons and are paired with that many electrons, so they both have formal charges of 0. The other oxygen, on the other hand, is assigned 7 electrons so its formal charge is #6-7#, or -1.

This leaves the nitrite ion with an overall charge of -1.

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Chlorite is similar in that the chlorine atom and one oxygen atom have formal charges of 0, but one oxygen atom has a formal charge of -1.

Another way to interpret the charge of -1 is that both ions have an extra electron, or one more than the molecules normally would have.