# Why does Sulfur have 12 valence electrons in the Sulfate ion? [duplicate]

So I am completely and utterly confused about why sulfur has $$12$$ valence electrons. I understand in it's configuration, it has $$2$$ electrons for the $$3\mathrm s$$ subshell, and $$4$$ electrons from its $$3\mathrm p$$ subshell, and it can use the $$3\mathrm d$$ subshell since its in period $$3$$. Therefore it is able to exceed the octet, and form more than just $$4$$ covalent bonds.

But how exactly do you calculate the exact number of "$$12$$ electrons" in the valence electron, which thus allows it to participate in $$6$$ covalent bonds with oxygen in the sulfate ion, $$\ce{SO4^2-}$$? I can't seem to understand.

Thanks so much!

• It doesn't and it was already discussed here. – Mithoron May 10 '16 at 20:34
• – Mithoron May 10 '16 at 20:39
• more precisely I recommend this answer: chemistry.stackexchange.com/a/5242/9961 – Mithoron May 10 '16 at 20:40
• Sulphur has six valence electrons. It is in group 16. I don’t get how you could assume any other valence electron count. Also, sulphur does not exceed the octet. – Jan May 10 '16 at 21:09
• The sulphate ion is made up of sulphur (6), four oxygens (4 · 6 = 24) and two additional electrons for the charge. Sulphur has six valence electrons, full stop. – Jan May 10 '16 at 22:12