# How to say whether an element is more electronegative?

In summary, the conversation discusses the factors that contribute to the electronegativity of phosphorous and nitrogen. The book mentions that nitrogen is more electronegative due to its smaller size, but the speaker questions if phosphorous, with a higher valency, should be more electronegative. The conversation also brings up the role of valency and shell numbers in determining electronegativity. However, it is noted that electronegativity is a vague concept and can be difficult to apply in detail.
Amoung phosphorous and nitrogen which one is more electronegative? My book says it is nitrogen because it is small in size but shouldn't it be phosphorous since it has higher valency than nitrogen?
When we compare two elements based on their electronegativity, should we not look at it's valencies? If not what is the criteria to be used?

Both N and P have 5 electrons in the outer shell, so the deciding factor is size.

BvU said:
Both N and P have 5 electrons in the outer shell, so the deciding factor is size.
I just found out another factor too.N has 2 shells while P has 3 shells.Now it is known that as we go down a group electronegativity decreases.Hence N should be more electronegative since it is place before phosphorous in 5th group depending on their shells.

Yes, there is some correlation between effective size and number of shells ...

Electronegativity - while sometimes quite useful - is a rather handwavy concept, poorly defined (many definitions, sometimes giving contradicting predictions). As with every poorly defined concept it becomes hard to apply/explain/use when you get into details.

- Doc, it hurts when I do that.
- Don't.

That how I approach this kind of problems

BvU
Borek is right: look further down in these tables -- P, As, Sb, Bi

Nitrogen is smaller, and so has higher charge density. Also the nucleus is less shielded so electrons will feel a greater pull, which explains it's higher electronegativity.

## 1. What is electronegativity?

Electronegativity is a measure of an atom's ability to attract electrons towards itself when it is bonded to another atom.

## 2. How is electronegativity determined?

Electronegativity is determined through a variety of methods, including experimental measurements and calculations based on atomic properties such as ionization energy and electron affinity.

## 3. Which elements are the most electronegative?

The most electronegative elements are located towards the top right corner of the periodic table, including fluorine, oxygen, and nitrogen.

## 4. How does electronegativity affect chemical bonding?

Electronegativity plays a crucial role in determining the type of chemical bond formed between two atoms. If the electronegativity difference between two atoms is large, an ionic bond is formed, while a smaller difference results in a covalent bond.

## 5. Can electronegativity change for an element?

Yes, electronegativity can change for an element depending on its chemical environment. For example, electronegativity increases as you move towards the top right of the periodic table, but may also vary within a group due to different atomic sizes and shielding effects.

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