Do you agree with the below passage in my text?

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Electronegativity is defined as the ability for something in a covalent framework to attract electrons also in covalent bonds.

Electropositivity is the inverse of electronegativity or the ability of something to donate/release electrons in a covalent framework.

How can a highly oxidized element be very electropositive? A highly oxidized element by definition has a minimal amount of electrons to be donated.

  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, there is some sort of electronegativity defined for noble gases. Seems like good ol' Pauling scale, and suggests that Ne is more electronegative than F. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Oct 14, 2015 at 21:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Dissenter You seem to be mixing up several unrelated concepts. Electronegativity is a property of an element in general, not of its particular oxidation state. $\endgroup$ Oct 14, 2015 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ @IvanNeretin - I welcome an answer from you on this topic; I remember we chatted about this but a drawn out, written, and permanent answer here on this site would be helpful too! I think it's good to have competing viewpoints (as me and my professor already do). $\endgroup$
    – Dissenter
    Oct 14, 2015 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


How can a highly oxidized element be electropositive?

An element can be electropositive, the highly oxidized element less so.

There are a number of things that don't sound quite right in the passage you quote. For example, the Pauling electronegativity for xenon has been assigned (2.6, if you'd like to see the methodology used to caculate the electronegativity of a noble gas, see this earlier answer). Also, depending on the compound, hypervalent (or hypercoordinate) bonding, rather than use of d orbitals, might be used to explain the bonding in some noble gas compounds

  • $\begingroup$ thank you for the helpful answer! "An element can be electropositive, the highly oxidized element less so." - Haha, I agree, and I think you know what I meant :p. Will edit wording though. $\endgroup$
    – Dissenter
    Oct 14, 2015 at 21:54

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