# Ionic charge factors [closed]

New to chemistry so forgive the fundamental question. What exactly determines the element's charge? Oxygen has 2- and hydrogen has 1+. Oxygen wants to receive 2 electrons to complete a shell when hydrogen wants to donate 1 electron. For example why wouldn't hydrogen want to gain 1 to complete its shell? What exactly is the methodology to this of any given element (non transitional obviously). I understand that the groups of the periodic can be used and memorized but whats the actual scientific theory as to why a given element donates rather than accepts and vise versa.

## closed as too broad by Jan, Jon Custer, Klaus-Dieter Warzecha, Todd Minehardt, jerepierreJun 6 '16 at 17:06

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• There's no such thing as "element's charge" and saying that hydrogen wants to get rid of electrons is nonsense. – Mithoron Jun 6 '16 at 12:41
• @Mithoron then when we say oxygen is 2- what is that referring to? Its ionic form? Can u better explain? – Atticus283blink Jun 6 '16 at 18:18
• You can say for example that Na2O consists of sodium cations and oxygen anions, but it's simplification. – Mithoron Jun 6 '16 at 21:55

Each element has an electronegativity, which in short is its tendency to attract electrons. Hence, since oxygen has electronegativity 3.4 and carbon has electronegativity 2.6, the $\ce{CO2}$ molecule can be seen as one $\ce{C^{4+}}$ and two $\ce{O^{2-}}$.
Of course this is a gross oversimplification and not actually how the $\ce{CO2}$ molecule works, so don't get attached to this view as you learn more chemistry.