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QUESTION

# What is the correct formula for the compound made by magnesium and nitrogen?

Magnesium and nitrogen combine to form magnesium nitride, "Mg"_3"N"_2".

Magnesium nitride is an ionic compound. Magnesium forms ions with a "2+" charge, and nitrogen forms nitride ions with a "3-" charge. The overall charge of the compound must be zero. Therefore, the numerical value of the positive and negative charge must be "6".

3["Mg"]^(2+) + 2 ["N"]^(3-)rarr"Mg"_3"N"_2"

3xx(2+)=6+ and 2xx(3-)=6-

(6+)+(6-)=0

An easy way to determine the formula unit of an ionic compound is called the crisscross method, as demonstrated in the video below.