Sulfate is a covalent ion. So it"s much more realistic to use formal charges, no oxidation states, to describe its atoms.

It"s ok to offer sulfate an overall oxidation state, but it doesn"t make feeling to perform so because that sulfur and also oxygen in sulfate.

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Oxidation states are theoretical charges for a link that has actually ideal ionic bonds, or would type ideal ionic bonds, i.e. complete transfer that the electron pair to just one atom in the bond.

You composed #"SO"_4^(2-)#, i beg your pardon is the sulfate polyatomic ion. You composed that its full charge was #-2#.

Since sulfate (#"SO"_4^(2-)#) is currently ionized, its fee is its oxidation state. Therefore it"s kind of pointless to find the "oxidation state" for #"SO"_4^(2-)# due to the fact that it"s already given.

The oxidation states for sulfur and also oxygen atom are figured out from:

electronegativitiestotal charge

#"SO"_4^(2-)# has actually a total charge the #-2#, and oxygen is more electronegative 보다 sulfur. So, oxygen polarizes the electron density towards chin more, and thus has actually the more negative oxidation state here.

Since oxygen is on shaft 16, its intended oxidation state is #color(red)(-2)#. Therefore:

#-2xx4 + x = -2#

#=>##x# provides the oxidation state that sulfur, i beg your pardon is #color(red)(+6)#.

#=> color(highlight)(stackrel(color(red)(+6))("S")stackrel(color(red)(-2))("O"_4^(2-)))#

But save in mind that this is unrealistic. If you ever do this for redox balancing, it"s just an accountancy scheme, and nothing more.


#"SO"_4^(2-)# is primarily a covalent ion. The electronegativity distinctions are just #1.0#. So, it"s an ext practical to discover the formal charges.


Formal charges space the hypothetical partial charges because that if the compound has actually ideal covalent bonds, i.e. perfectly also sharing that electron pairs.

When us cleave every bond in half, us then assume the one electron walk to every atom, and we deserve to assign formal charges the way.

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The "owned" electrons room the persons the atom has actually upon this cleavageThe "valence" electrons space the ones that the atom typically has actually as a neutral atom.