Free elements have an oxidation state of 0
i.e. Na = 0 and Cl2=0 in 2 Na(s) + Cl2(g)
Monatomic ions have an oxidation state equal to their charge.
i.e. Na = +1 and Cl = -1 in NaCl;
(+1) + (-1) = 0
The sum of oxidation states in a compound is 0.
The sum of oxidation states of all the atoms in a polyatomic ion equals the charge of the ion.
i.e. N = +5 and O = -2 in NO3–;
(+5) + 3(-2) = -1
Group 1 metals have an oxidation state of +1 in all their compounds.
i.e. Na = +1 in NaCl
Group 2 metals have an oxidation state of +2 in all their compounds
i.e. Mg = +2 in MgCl2
In their compounds, nonmetals have oxidation states according to the table below. (nonmetals higher on the table take priority)
F = -1
H = +1
O = -2
Group 7a = -1
Group 6a = -2
Group 5a = -3
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