# What does higher electron gain enthalpy mean here?

While talking about ionic bonds my book states :

Higher the value of electron gain enthalpy of the atom, greater the ease of formation of the anion from it, i.e., other atom should have high value of electron gain enthalpy.

Now I think it should say more negative than just higher (as negative enthalpy means release of energy and hence more stability). So what should it be? Why the chemistry books (I have to read) seem to always avoid the term magnitude(Is there some hidden assumption which are generally in the field of inorganic chemistry ?

I take for granted that what you call "electron gain enthalpy" is generally described as "electron affinity". This is the energy gained (or lost) when an electron is added to an atom, ion or molecule. In general the electron affinity is a measure for the tendency of elements to form anions. The trouble is that you may find tables giving these numerical values as positive or negative values. For example, for fluorine $$\ce{F}$$, the electron affinity is $$\pu{338 kJ/mol}$$. But you may find books where the same affinity is given as $$\pu{-338 kJ/mol}$$. It depends on the sense you consider the reaction $$\ce{A + e- -> A-}$$.