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Identify the acid-base conjugate pairs in the following reactions: $$\ce{H_2SO_4 + HNO_3 <=> HSO_4^- + NO_2^+ + H_2O}$$

The obvious acid base conjugate pair is $\ce{H_2SO4}$ and $\ce{HSO_4^-}$.

If $\ce{NO_2^+}$ and $\ce{H_2O}$ were together, the second acid-base pair would be quite obvious. But the two aren't. What would be the conjugate-acid pair of $\ce{HNO_3}$ in this case?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hint: if you see an acid on the left, probably there should be an acid on the right. $\endgroup$ – permeakra Aug 22 '16 at 21:48
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I understand. Conjugate acid pairs differ chemically by one hydrogen ion - $\ce{HNO_3}$ does not differ by one hydrogen ion when compared to either of $\ce{NO_2^+}$ or $\ce{H_2O}$. This is where I am stuck. $\endgroup$ – StopReadingThisUsername Aug 22 '16 at 22:33
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    $\begingroup$ Ok. What is the conjugated acid for $\ce{NaOH}$ (if any) in $\ce{H2SO4 + NaOH = NaHSO4 + H2O}$ ? The situation is pretty similar. Alternatively: as you said, the problem is that $\ce{NO2+}$ and $\ce{H2O}$ are not together, but does they dissociate right away, or is there some state in between, not present in the equation, but still existing? $\endgroup$ – permeakra Aug 23 '16 at 7:37

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