What is the difference between a chemical symbol and a chemical formula?

1 Answer
Dec 28, 2015

Example of a chemical symbol: #"Mg"#
Example of a chemical formula: #"MgO"#


Chemical symbols refer to chemical elements only. They do not necessarily refer to atoms of that element, but also to ions.

Chemical formulas refer to compounds and, specifically, the ratios in which it is made up by different chemical elements.