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sulphate ion has tetrahedral geometry as predicted by VSEPR theory; the four S-O bonds are indistinguishable and have the same bond order, so the Lewis structure is better represented avoiding S=O double bonds; if instead of double bonds there are covalent dative bonds, what about the hybridization of S and O ? My idea is the following: Sulphur has hybridization sp3, each oxigen atom involved in dative bond has to provide an unfilled p orbital sulphate ion has tetrahedral geometry as predicted by VSEPR theory; the four S-O bonds are indistinguishable and have the same bond order, so the Lewis structure is better represented avoiding S=O double bonds; if instead of double bonds there are covalent dative bonds, what about the hybridization of S and O ?  enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Both structures cn be accepted. Lewis preferred the structure with 4 single bonds. L. Pauling preferred the mesomeric structure with two double bonds S=O $\endgroup$
    – Maurice
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ Both structures might be accepted but the best way to draw it in the Lewis formalism is to put a double positive charge on sulphur and have all four oxygens be negatively charged. That also ensures complete equivalence of the oxygens without the need for resonance structures. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Jul 3, 2020 at 10:28
  • $\begingroup$ See chemistry.stackexchange.com/a/1094/103633 and the Wikipedia page linked therein. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 16:13

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