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What is the difference between a polyatomic ion and a monatomic ion? Thanks

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inquire123 | Student | eNoter

Posted September 13, 2013 at 10:24 AM via web

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What is the difference between a polyatomic ion and a monatomic ion?

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sciencesolve | Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM (Answer #1)

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The prefix "mono" suggests to you that a monoatomic ion consists of only one atom.

Example of monoatomic ions: `Na^(1+), H^+`

The prefix "poly" suggests to you that a polyatomic ion consists of  more than only one atom, like 2,3, 4 or more.

Take as example the hydroxyl ion `OH^-` that consists of 2 atomes, one oxygen atom and one hydrogen atom.

The acetate ion `CH_3COO` contains 7 atoms, 2 Carbons, 3 Hydrogens and 2 Oxygens.

Hence, a monoatomic ion contains only one kind of atom while polyatomic ion contains more than one atom.

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