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I understand that it is necessary to use state symbols in an equation with compounds shown, such as:

$$\ce{NaCl(aq) +AgNO3 (aq) -> NaNO3 (aq) +AgCl(s)}$$

But is it necessary to use state symbols for a complete ionic equation, such as: $$\ce{Na+ +Cl- +Ag+ +NO3- -> Na+ +NO3- +AgCl}$$

And if so, why? Can the ions be said to be dissolved in the solvent, or can that only be said for the compound made up of those ions?

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    $\begingroup$ Notation is great especially when there is ambiguity. If it's clear that you're doing solution chemistry, I don't see the problem with omitting the state label. Technically, this could be a gas phase reaction, but it's unlikely. And obviously, if you're being graded on writing these, you should do whatever is asked. $\endgroup$ – Zhe Jul 19 '17 at 18:35
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, what you have shown is not an ionic equation. By convention (or definition?), an ionic equation does not show the "spectator ions" (i.e. those that do not take part in the reaction). In this case, the ionic equation should not show the sodium and nitrate ions. It should only show the silver (I) and chloride ions. $\endgroup$ – Tan Yong Boon Jul 20 '17 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ Hi, Tan Yong Boon. Thanks for the feedback. I intended for the second equation to be a complete ionic equation rather than a net ionic equation, but I agree that it would have been better to use a net ionic equation. $\endgroup$ – user464136 Jul 20 '17 at 8:28
  • $\begingroup$ Pinging @TanYongBoon because the OP didn't do it correctly. $\endgroup$ – Pritt Balagopal Jul 21 '17 at 3:30
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It is of extreme importance to state that the dissolution is happening in water, otherwise it could be mistakenly interpreted as a reaction in the gas state (most measurements of dissociation and other energies related to ionic compounds are done in the gas phase, not liquid solutions). If you are writing a sentence and mention that the dissolution is happening in aqueous media, then it's not that important to write the state symbols beside every reagent/product, but if you don't specifically mention it somewhere else then you should write all the details (remember science do not tolerate ambiguity, except for quantum physics haha).

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Well if there are only dissolved ions you could (theoretically) leave the state symbols away if it is clear that you're working with solutions. But it is just a matter of form and definitely not bad to have them there for reasons of clarity and comprehensibility.

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