Nomenclature and formulas of binary compounds

If you have one element, like sulfur, which is S, and it’s a negative ion, just add “ide” to the end, like sulfide. Or if you have a carbon ion, it’s carbide. Nitrogen would be nitride, chlorine would be chloride.


If there’s more than one atom, especially if one of them is oxygen, then they have special names. The one with more oxygen atoms is the “ate” and the one with less is the “ite”. Sulfate has 4 oxygen atoms, and sulfite only has 3. Nitrate has three oxygen, and nitrite has only 2.


If there’s more than two ions, the one with the largest number of atoms gets the “per” and “ate”, like perchlorate. And the smallest one gets the “hypo” and “ite”, like hypochlorite.


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Comments

2 Responses to “Nomenclature and formulas of binary compounds”
  1. Yes, a perchlorate ion is the least reactive oxidizer of the all chlorates.

  2. themorozovs says:

    Hello, Ms. Lipper,

    Do we use the “hypo”, “ite”, “ate”, and “per” prefixes and suffixes relative to the amount of oxygen in the compounds we’re comparing, or will ClO4 always be perchlorate?

    -Anna Marie

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