What is the process to determining charges regardless of the molecule? Is there some sort of rule book?

  • $\begingroup$ Look at the bonds, then at the electronegativities. There is nothing as complicated as to justify writing a whole book on the subject. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Apr 27 '17 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ After ranking them based on electronegativity values from lowest to highest; S, N, O, F, what do I do? I don't understand how any one of these will have a positive charge. @IvanNeretin $\endgroup$ – XHyper Apr 27 '17 at 8:35
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    $\begingroup$ Basic concepts are better learned on the examples of existing compounds. Think of sulfuric or nitric acids. What are the formal charges of S and N in them? $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Apr 27 '17 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ S has +6 and N has +5? @IvanNeretin $\endgroup$ – XHyper Apr 27 '17 at 9:37
  • $\begingroup$ That's right. Now what's strange about them having positive oxidation states? Nothing. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Apr 27 '17 at 9:50

Note: Since this is a homework question, I will not give a complete answer to this question (Site Policy).

I will assume that the molecule is:

enter image description here

Although the molecule is highly strained, lets assume it exists.

Use the simplified formula to find Oxidation number:

$$\text{Oxidation Number}=(\text{Num. of bonds formed with electronegative atoms})-(\text{Num. of bonds formed with electropositive atoms})$$

I'm sure you can continue from here.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ How did you come up with this equation? $\endgroup$ – XHyper May 6 '17 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ Well, its the only one that satisfies all their valencies :) @XHyper $\endgroup$ – Pritt says Reinstate Monica May 6 '17 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ How did you create the lewis dot structure in the first place? I'm still struggling with that. $\endgroup$ – XHyper May 6 '17 at 2:31
  • $\begingroup$ @XHyper Nitrogen forms 3 bonds, Oxygen and Sulfur each 2, and Fluorine forms 1. Try any other structure, this is the only one. $\endgroup$ – Pritt says Reinstate Monica May 6 '17 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ Thus, Oxygen would have (1) - (1) = 0 oxidization charge? @Pritt Balagopal $\endgroup$ – XHyper May 18 '17 at 1:55

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