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Ionic Compounds💡

  • Keep the name of the cation (the ion that loses valence electrons). This is usually the first part of the chemical formula.
  • Cut off the end of the anion's name and add the -ide suffix.
  • If the anion is a polyatomic ion, don't change the name.
  • Here are a few examples:
    NaCl - sodium chloride
    Al₂Se₃ - aluminum selenide
    LiH - lithium hydride
    NH₄NO₃ - ammonium nitrate
    CaCO₃ - calcium carbonate

For cations with multiple charges: 

  • Sometimes, cations can have multiple charges. For example, iron can have a +2 or a +3 charge. Most transition metals will have multiple charges, besides some exceptions like Zn²⁺ and Ag⁺.
  • If a cation can have different charges, include its charge in the compound after the actual name of the cation. Write it in roman numerals between parentheses.
  • To help you figure out the charge of the cation, keep in mind that the total charge of the cation(s) should be the same magnitude as the total charge of the anion(s). Pay attention to subscripts!
  • Here are a few examples:
    VO - vanadium(II) oxide
    FeCl₃ - iron(III) chloride
    Cu₃P₂ - copper(II) phosphide
    MnSO₄ - manganese(II) sulfate

Molecular Compounds 🔬

  • Keep the name of the first element the same.
  • Cut off the end of the second element and add the -ide suffix.
  • Now, add the correct prefix to both elements based on their subscripts:
    1: mono-
    2: di-
    3: tri-
    4: tetra-
    5: penta-
    6: hexa-
    7: hepta-
    8: octo-
    9: nona-
    10: deca-
  • If there's only one atom of the first element, you don't need the mono- prefix. For example, NO₂ is nitrogen dioxide, not mononitrogen dioxide.
  • Here are a few examples:
    P₃O₅ - triphosphorus pentoxide
    S₂O₆ - disulfur hexoxide
    CO₂ - carbon dioxide
    SiO - silicon monoxide
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