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I know from a textbook that nitrogen has an oxidation state of +II in NO, and this is easily verified if O is assigned -II.

However, if one looks at the resonance structure and assigns covalent electrons to the partner with higher electronegativity, then, for the resonance structure with the radical on the N, N has an oxidation state of +II - but for the resonance structure with the radical on the O, N has an oxidation state of +I, and their average should be +1.5?

  +V                    +IV     
[ |N. = |O|   <-->  (-) |N| = O|. (+)]
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  • $\begingroup$ OK so you just spotted one of the weaknesses in the oxidation states model - because that it just what it is, a model. It is useful for understanding what is going on, but does not fully describe all circumstances. $\endgroup$ – Waylander Nov 5 '18 at 21:52

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