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When a covalent bond is formed, elements gain shared electrons. Wouldn't this mean covalent compounds contain ions? According to BBC and other sources they don't have any ions at all... How is this so?

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Any bond between two elements has a certain covalent character or some ionic character. When the ionic character is much greater, the compound is said to be ionic and vice versa. An example of an ionic compound is common salt or $\ce{NaCl}$ while diamond is a covalent compound formed by carbon atoms which are $\ce{sp^3}$ hybridised. When covalent character is high, electrons mostly occupy the bonding orbital between the two nuclei. The electrons are said to be more in a "shared" state. In ionic compounds like $\ce{NaCl}$ , $\ce{Na}$ almost gives its electron due to high metallic character and $\ce{Cl}$ almost accepts due to high electronegativity. In such case, much $\ce{+ve}$ charge is found on $\ce{Na}$ while high $\ce{-ve}$ charge is found on chlorine. In diamond, however no charge is found on carbon(although in a molecule like $\ce{HCl}$, $\ce{\delta}$$-$ charge is found on $\ce{Cl}$ and $\ce{\delta}$$+$ on $\ce{H}$ due to electronegativity differenece).

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  • $\begingroup$ It is difficult to understand what do you want to ask. $\endgroup$ – Apoorv Potnis Aug 12 '16 at 15:34

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