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enter image description here

the amide up top is activating and the sulfonic acid below is deactivating. I'm just wondering how we know that the nitro group is placed ortho to the amide or meta to the sulfonic acid.

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    $\begingroup$ Bad example, there's no such problem in this case. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 26 '16 at 13:01
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If you draw resonance structures for ortho and meta attacks with respect to amide group, Resonance structures in ortho attack will exhibit carbocation directly attached to amide group, which is resonance stabilised. Resonance structure of meta attack will exhibit carbocation directly attached to SO3H group. Which is destabilised. So ortho attack is predominant. You can check the image I have attached as an answer. resonance structures of ortho and meta attacks.

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