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If an acid and a base are disolved in water the reaction can be written as:

H2SO4 + NH3 -> HSO4- + NH4+

On the other hand we can also consider:

H2SO4 + H2O -> HSO4- + H3O+

and:

NH3 + H2O -> NH4+ + OH-

after which a neutralization between hydronium- and hydroxide-ions takes place

H3O+ + OH- -> 2 H2O

The net effect would be the same overall reaction.

I assume the second mechanism is more likely due to the great excess of water molecules, is this what actually happens?

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