What is the difference in electronegativity between carbon and nitrogen?

1 Answer
May 15, 2018

Carbon has an electronegativity of 2.55 while Nitrogen has an electronegativity of 3.04.


Electronegativity varies in a predictable way across the periodic table. Electronegativity increases from bottom to top in groups, and increases from left to right across periods. Thus, fluorine is the most electronegative element, while francium is one of the least electronegative.

As Carbon is the first element of the 4th group of periodic table, it has four valence electrons, all of which, can be utilized during bond formation. Because of this, C doesn't have any lone pairs of electrons. Nitrogen, on the other hand, is the 1st element of group 5 and has 5 valence electrons. Three of these can be used during bonding, while the remaining two form a lone pair.

As along the period, from left to right, the no. of electrons increase in shells, the power/attraction of the nucleus also increases, making each element more electronegative than the previous one. It is obvious that an element with more electrons in valence shell would try to pull the electrons with more force in a bond, as compared to that element, which has less nuclear attractive force.

From all this, we conclude that Nitrogen is more electronegative than carbon.