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QUESTION

# What are the oxidation numbers of S and O in the ion S2O3(2-)?

Oxygen would have an oxidation state of -2, therefore sulfur would have an oxidation state of +2.

Let me explain:

So you have the whole compound that has a total charge of (2-). This means everything in the compound will have to 'add' up to -2.

Break down the in the compound:

Oxygen's normal oxidation number is -2. Because you have three oxygen atoms, the oxidation number is now

-2 xx "3 oxygen atoms" = -6

Remember, the whole compound is -2, so we have to get the charge from -6 up to -2.

Sulfur's normal oxidation number in this case would be +2. There are two sulfur atoms so the number is now

+2 xx "2 sulfur atoms" = +4

It's perfect.

overbrace(-6)^(color(blue)("the oxygen atoms")) + underbrace((+4))_(color(red)("the sulfur atoms"))= -2