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What are the possible oxidation numbers of an element if its…

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What are the possible oxidation numbers of an element if its atomic number is 17?

A. -1 and 7

B. -1 and 6

C. -3 and 5

D. -2 and 6




The electronic configuration of such atom with atomic number 17 will be:

2, 8, 7

This implies that it will have 7 electrons in the outermost shell.

In order to fulfill the octet rule for chemical stability with 8 or 0 electrons in the outer shell, 1 electron from another source will need to be added to make it’s oxidation state –1,  or the entire 7 outer electrons will need to be given off leaving it with oxidation state of +7.

Now for the right answer to the above question:

  1. Option A is correct. –1 and +7
  2. Option B is incorrect.
  3. C is incorrect. this should be for a group v element.
  4. D is not the correct answer. this should be for a group vi element.


You may please note these/this:

  • Atoms manage to maintain stability by giving off or accepting electrons to keep up with the octet rule.
  • The octet rule here refers to the condition of having either 8 or 0 outer electrons.
  • Oxidation number shows the number of electron gained or lost.

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/ culled from 2020 JAMB-UTME chemistry past question 8 /

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  1. 0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

    In other words, you mean oxidation number is the number of electrons an atom is willing to accept or donate?

    Rita Okon - May 28, 2021 | Reply

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