The rules for oxidation states are as follows:
A. General Rules:
1. For an atom in its elemental form (Zn, Cl2, C(graphite), etc.) O.S. = 0
2. For an ion (Li+, Al3+, etc.) O.S. = charge
Which statement best describes the difference between the charge of a polyatomic ion and the oxidation states of its constituent atoms? (For example, the charge of NO3– is 1-, and the oxidation states of its atoms are +5 for the nitrogen atom and -2 for each oxygen atom.)
(a) The charge of a polyatomic ion is a property of the entire ion, while the oxidation states are assigned to each individual atom.
(b) The oxidation state of the ion is the same as its charge.
(c) The charge of a polyatomic ion is not a real physical property, while the oxidation states of atoms are actual physical properties.
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