According to the formula it should be +5 but according to its structure shouldn't it be +4? How is it +5 then?

enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ $5\cdot(-2) + 2\cdot(+5) = 0$ $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 7:44
  • $\begingroup$ But according to the structure it should be + 4 $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 8:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ No. Why do you think so? $\endgroup$
    – aventurin
    Jul 2, 2016 at 17:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A coordinate bond gives a formal charge of +1 to N, implying that it effectively gets a raise in oxidation state by +2 $\endgroup$
    – SubZero
    Mar 25, 2017 at 17:59

1 Answer 1


It is +5 .Even by the structure.

enter image description here

Notice that it is a resonance structure of:

enter image description here

Now one of the bonds are coordinate bonds where nitrogen donates BOTH its electrons to oxygen (otherwise, oxygen cannot have a single bond without a negative charge and no peroxy type linkage).

So, while determining oxidation state from the structure :


References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinitrogen_pentoxide

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your second image is better since it shows formal charges. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Jul 2, 2016 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ True, but that's not much of an improvement. Evidently, I picked it up for representation purpose. $\endgroup$
    – Varun
    Jul 4, 2016 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, I always advocate properly assigning formal charges to all atoms that need them, which is why I wouldn’t have upvoted your answer if only the first structure were shown ;) $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Jul 5, 2016 at 0:11

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