Which element is undergoing reduction in the following reaction: Zn(s) + 2 AgNO3(aq) → Zn(NO3)2(aq) + 2 Ag(s)?

Nov 29, 2015

The silver ion, $A {g}^{+}$, is reduced to silver metal, $A {g}^{0} \left(s\right)$.

Explanation:

The silver species formally undergoes a decrease in oxidation state from $+ I$ to $0$. For every reduction, there is a corresponding oxidation, and zinc metal is oxidized to $Z {n}^{2 +}$.

$Z n \left(s\right) \uparrow + 2 A g N {O}_{3} \left(a q\right) \rightarrow Z n {\left(N {O}_{3}\right)}_{2} \left(a q\right) + 2 A g \left(s\right) \downarrow$

In other words, reduction is gain of electrons, whereas oxidation is loss of electrons.....(LEO says GER, loss of electrons = oxidation;
gain in electrons = reduction). You will have to remember this.