In this generic acid-base reaction:

$\ce{HX + B <=> X- + HB+}$

It's explained that the acid HX donates a proton H+ to its conjugate base HB+. What happens to the electron that was originally in the acid's H atom?

  • $\begingroup$ "What happens to the electron that was originally in the acid's H atom?" It's stuck as an extra electron with the $X$ atom, and that explains why $\ce{X}$ ends up with a uninegative charge. $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Feb 5 '18 at 2:21

The electron belonging to elemental hydrogen forms part of a covalent bond with $\ce{X}$. In this acid-base reaction the $\ce{HX}$ bond breaks heterolytically, meaning that both electrons constituting the bond go to $\ce{X-}$, hence the negative charge.

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The base then donates electrons to the proton, forming the electron deficient species $\ce{HB+}$.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks!! why can't they just say that in the textbook?? $\endgroup$ – charlie K3 Feb 5 '18 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what level you're working at or what textbook you're using but this page has some diagrams that you might find helpful. Otherwise, if you feel I've answered your question, please consider accepting my answer! $\endgroup$ – Jacob Feb 5 '18 at 14:48

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