Our Ions

Remember, an ion is an element that has gained or lost at least one electron and so has an electrical charge. The electrical charge is shown with a superscript and must include the + or - symbol. Many ions have special endings to let us know they have made the change from element to ion. The chemical and physical properties of ions can be very different from their elements. 

Iron the element is a hard blue gray metal. Fe+3 combines with oxygen to make rust, a soft red material that does not 

conduct electricity and is non-magnetic.

Hint: as you work to memorize these, try grouping them by charge (also called valence). I would put them on color coded flash cards.

Element name

Ion name

Charge Ion symbol
chlorine chloride -1 Cl-1
hydrogen hydrogen +1 H+1
oxygen oxide -2 O-2
sodium sodium +1 Na+1
neon -- 0 Ne
carbon carbon +4 C+4
magnesium magnesium +2 Mg+2
calcium calcium +2 Ca+2
fluorine fluoride -1 F-1
iron ferric +3 Fe+3
copper cupric +2 Cu+2
aluminum aluminum +3 Al+3
sulfur sulfide -2 S-2
potassium potassium +1 K+1
bromine bromide -1 Br-1
phosphorus phosphide -3 P-3
nitrogen nitride -3 N-3
helium -- 0 He
silver silver +1 Ag+1
cobalt cobaltous +2 Co+2
barium barium +2 Ba+2
lead plumbic +4 Pb+4
iodine iodide -1 I-1
zinc zinc +2 Zn+2
mercury mercuric +2 Hg+2
arsenic arsenous +3 As+3
nickel nickelous +2 Ni+2
argon -- 0 Ar
silicon silicon +4 Si+4
tin stannic +4 Sn+4
krypton -- 0 Kr
lithium lithium +1 Li+1
boron boron +3 B+3
beryllium beryllium +2 Be+2
xenon -- 0 Xe
Polyatomic ions
-- hydroxide -1 OH-1
-- sulfate -2 SO4-2
-- nitrate -1 NO3-1
-- phosphate -3 PO4-3
-- chromate -2 CrO4-2
-- chlorate -1 ClO3-1
-- carbonate -2 CO3-2
-- acetate -1 C2H3O2-1
-- ammonium +1 NH4+1

These ions are our basic vocabulary for Chemistry. We cannot say anything interesting or talk about reactions or other fun stuff in Chemistry until these have been memorized. Expect ions quizzes approximately weekly.







that has gained or lost an electron, and so has an electrical charge. Elements are all neutral or have zero valence. The chemical and 


The superscripts (little numbers above the line) are the electrical charge.
The subscripts are the numbers of atoms in the ion for the polyatomic ions.
Anions are negatively charged ions and cations are positively charged ions.
Study your ions early and often. Expect a test on them about once a week.