How can I find the oxidation state of sulfur in $\ce{H2S2O5}$ using its structure?

This is the structure of $\ce{H2S2O5}$:

structure of H2S2O5

  • $\begingroup$ Consider every bond and which way it is polarized. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2016 at 1:25
  • $\begingroup$ S-S bond is not polarized. Both sulphur will have different oxidation states $\endgroup$
    – Aditya Dev
    Jan 17, 2016 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ How can I find the oxidation of sulphur @Mithoron using the structure? Are there any rules to be followed? $\endgroup$
    – Aditya Dev
    Jan 17, 2016 at 2:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It looks like homework... Hmm, chemistry.stackexchange.com/questions/35343/… is analogical $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Jan 17, 2016 at 2:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron: if I take $x$ as the oxidation state of sulphur, $2+2x-10=0$, $x=4$. But Wikipedia says 5 and 3. $\endgroup$
    – Aditya Dev
    Jan 17, 2016 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


Use the states of oxygen and hydrogen to know the oxidation state of sulphur. enter image description here

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ While technically correct and nicely painted, this answer provides little explanation as to its conclusion. How do we know that O is -2 and H is +1, really? Are they always this way? Well, good like trying to apply that to $\ce{H2O2}$. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2016 at 16:46
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Electronegativity. What is the possible oxidation states for oxygen and hydrogen? Oxygen is the more electronegative element of the compound. So, his charge will be -2, and the hydrogen is bonded with the oxygen so his charge will be +1. The sulphur charge is consequence. $\endgroup$
    – Koba
    Jan 17, 2016 at 20:32

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