# In coordinate bond, why doesn't the H^+ atom get a negative charge?

In a coordinate bond, why H^+ atom don't get the negative charge? as an example [NH4]^+
If we split [NH4]^+, we get NH3 + H^+. In NH3, N and 3H atoms have completed their octet and H^+ accepts the lone pair of electrons from the N, As we know H^+ has no any electrons but a proton. If it receives two electrons from the N, out of the two electrons, one electron neutrals the H atom so H^+ changes to H and another is an extra electron, so the H atom changes to H^- ( here H^+ ion does not share an electron with N but it completely receives from the N). So it NH4^+ should be NH3^+-H^-

mfb
Mentor
It would be NH32+. How much energy would you need to get two electrons from NH3 and how would the remaining electrons be arranged?

I assume this happens in water? Keep in mind that you don't actually get H+. You get H3O+.

Borek
Mentor
Hint: count charges on all nucleons, count all electrons, that gives you the charge on the molecule. Doesn't matter where the electron exactly is.

If you count two electrons on H, you will be missing one on N.

Hint: count charges on all nucleons, count all electrons, that gives you the charge on the molecule. Doesn't matter where the electron exactly is.

If you count two electrons on H, you will be missing one on N.
you mean to say N will show 7 electrons and it has 8 protons. For this reason, here N^+ meant one extra proton?

It would be NH32+. How much energy would you need to get two electrons from NH3 and how would the remaining electrons be arranged?

I assume this happens in water? Keep in mind that you don't actually get H+. You get H3O+.
H2O + HCl = H3O+ + Cl-
NH3 + HCl = NH4+ + Cl-
Am I Correct?

H atoms sometimes do get negative charges, in compounds with elements less electronegative than H.
Such as LiBH4

Borek
Mentor
you mean to say N will show 7 electrons and it has 8 protons. For this reason, here N^+ meant one extra proton?

More like one missing electron, but yes, 8 protons in nucleus and 7 electrons would mean N+.

More like one missing electron, but yes, 8 protons in nucleus and 7 electrons would mean N+.
I got it but what my problem is that if H+ receives two electrons, why does not it change to H- because it has two electrons now out of two electrons, one is for one proton, making the atom a neutral and another is an extra atom, making the atom negative. could you explain, please?

Borek
Mentor
It doesn't have two electrons, it shares these electrons with nitrogen, effectively having just one of them.

mfb
Mentor
I got it but what my problem is that if H+ receives two electrons
There is no H+ that would receive two electrons.

It doesn't have two electrons, it shares these electrons with nitrogen, effectively having just one of them.
How could it share electrons with N because N completely donates its lone pair of electrons to H+?

There is no H+ that would receive two electrons.
What do you mean by 'there is no H+ that would receive two electrons'? Could you explain, please?

mfb
Mentor
What do you mean by 'there is no H+ that would receive two electrons'? Could you explain, please?
I don't understand what is unclear.
You asked "if H gets two electrons, then X" and asked why X is not the case. Simple: Because H doesn't get two electrons.

TeethWhitener
Gold Member
How could it share electrons with N because N completely donates its lone pair of electrons to H+?
Why do you believe this? It isn’t true.
There is no H+ that would receive two electrons.
I think @HCverma is thinking of the fact that the lone pair on N donates electron density to the proton, forming a dative bond (a covalent bond where both electrons come from one atom). However, this type of bond is still covalent (electrons are shared). He seems to think it will be ionic, in which case you’d have
$$NH_3 +H^+\rightarrow NH_3^{2+} +H^-$$
due to charge conservation, as @mfb mentioned before in post 2.
Edit: for clarity’s sake, what really happens is:
$$NH_3 +H^+\rightarrow NH_4^+$$
where all 4 N-H bonds are equivalent (and the formal positive charge is distributed evenly across the four hydrogens).

Why do you believe this? It isn’t true.

I think @HCverma is thinking of the fact that the lone pair on N donates electron density to the proton, forming a dative bond (a covalent bond where both electrons come from one atom). However, this type of bond is still covalent (electrons are shared). He seems to think it will be ionic, in which case you’d have
$$NH_3 +H^+\rightarrow NH_3^{2+} +H^-$$
due to charge conservation, as @mfb mentioned before in post 2.
Edit: for clarity’s sake, what really happens is:
$$NH_3 +H^+\rightarrow NH_4^+$$
where all 4 N-H bonds are equivalent (and the formal positive charge is distributed evenly across the four hydrogens).
'where all 4 N-H bonds are equivalent (and the formal positive charge is distributed evenly across the four hydrogens)'

TeethWhitener
Gold Member
'where all 4 N-H bonds are equivalent (and the formal positive charge is distributed evenly across the four hydrogens)'
I'm not sure what else there is to explain. All of the bonds in NH4+ are equivalent (equal length/equal strength). The Lewis structure has a formal positive charge on the nitrogen, but in reality, the positive charge is shared equally by the hydrogens.

• HCverma
I'm not sure what else there is to explain. All of the bonds in NH4+ are equivalent (equal length/equal strength). The Lewis structure has a formal positive charge on the nitrogen, but in reality, the positive charge is shared equally by the hydrogens.
Ok, then where the positive charge on the nitrogen comes from? As I know positive charge means a proton and an atom shows only positive charge if it has an electron less in numbers than the protons at the nucleus of the atom.

Borek
Mentor
As I know positive charge means a proton and an atom shows only positive charge if it has an electron less in numbers than the protons at the nucleus of the atom.

It is exactly the same for a molecule - count all protons in all nuclei, count all electrons, see what total charge you get.

It is exactly the same for a molecule - count all protons in all nuclei, count all electrons, see what total charge you get.
N has 7 protons and 7 (own electrons) + 3 (from 3 H atoms) = 10 electrons. So there are 3 more electrons, still why N atom has a positive ion on it? Please explain

Borek
Mentor

Sometimes I wonder if you are not just trolling.

mfb
Mentor
The electrons from the hydrogen atoms are not located at the nitrogen atom.

Sometimes I wonder if you are not just trolling.
Ok, just let me clear. Then where does the proton come on N in NH4+? Which atom or atoms add a proton to N? Could you explain, please?

Borek
Mentor
Ok, just let me clear. Then where does the proton come on N in NH4+? Which atom or atoms add a proton to N? Could you explain, please?

You wrote an example of how it can happen by yourself:

NH3 + HCl = NH4+ + Cl-

• Bystander
You wrote an example of how it can happen by yourself:
No, my question is that from where does N get extra proton so that it changes to N+?

mjc123
Homework Helper
If N got an extra proton it would become O+. The ammonia molecule gains a proton (in the form of a hydrogen ion) to become NH4+. This has 11 protons and 10 electrons, so has a single positive charge.

If N got an extra proton it would become O+. The ammonia molecule gains a proton (in the form of a hydrogen ion) to become NH4+. This has 11 protons and 10 electrons, so has a single positive charge.

How is it possible? N has 7 protons and 7 electrons. N will get 3 electrons to full fill its octet. So the total electrons are 10 but N still has 7 protons because protons. are permanent. Atoms only can gain or lose electrons not protons.

Borek
Mentor
No, my question is that from where does N get extra proton so that it changes to N+?
Atoms only can gain or lose electrons not protons.

You know atoms can't get protons, yet you ask where does N gets the extra proton from?

TeethWhitener
Gold Member
N will get 3 electrons to full fill its octet.
It will also get 3 protons (in the case of NH3) or 4 protons (in the case of NH4+). For simplicity, in the case of NH3, N will share 3 of its electrons with 3 hydrogen atoms (each with 1 electron and 1 proton). It doesn't take the hydrogens' electrons from them (at least not entirely--see below). If it did, then you would write ammonia's formula as N3-(H+)3. Covalent bonds involve sharing of electrons. The 3 electrons from the hydrogens serve to complete the nitrogen's octet, but they don't count toward the formal charge. For the formal charge, each covalent bond counts as one electron.

So for NH4+, there are 4 covalent bonds around nitrogen; therefore there are 8 (4x2) valence electrons satisfying the nitrogen's octet, but only 4 valence electrons counting toward nitrogen's formal charge. Add the 2 non-bonding 1s electrons and you have 6 total electrons assigned to nitrogen for the sake of formal charge. Since nitrogen has 7 protons, the formal charge on nitrogen is +1.

(Caveat: there is some polarity in the N-H bond. That is, a given electron is more likely to be found around the nitrogen in an N-H bond than the hydrogen. However, it is far from being a complete charge transfer.)

• HCverma
mfb
Mentor
There are 11 protons and 10 electrons in NH4+, therefore the molecule has a single positive charge.

Two of the electrons are in the n=1 shell of nitrogen, the other 8 form 4 pairs that are shared between nitrogen and one hydrogen each. If you sum the charges like that you have 6 electrons at the nitrogen atom with its 7 protons.

symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Since the proton is a little-bitty thing, it do not have enough mass to pull the electron to it more than some other not so bitty thing.

(the language could use some refinement)

mjc123
Homework Helper
Protons attract electrons by charge, not mass. The electrical force is enormously greater than the gravitational force between electrons and protons - a factor of about 1039.

'
It will also get 3 protons (in the case of NH3) or 4 protons (in the case of NH4+). For simplicity, in the case of NH3, N will share 3 of its electrons with 3 hydrogen atoms (each with 1 electron and 1 proton). It doesn't take the hydrogens' electrons from them (at least not entirely--see below). If it did, then you would write ammonia's formula as N3-(H+)3. Covalent bonds involve sharing of electrons. The 3 electrons from the hydrogens serve to complete the nitrogen's octet, but they don't count toward the formal charge. For the formal charge, each covalent bond counts as one electron.

So for NH4+, there are 4 covalent bonds around nitrogen; therefore there are 8 (4x2) valence electrons satisfying the nitrogen's octet, but only 4 valence electrons counting toward nitrogen's formal charge. Add the 2 non-bonding 1s electrons and you have 6 total electrons assigned to nitrogen for the sake of formal charge. Since nitrogen has 7 protons, the formal charge on nitrogen is +1.

(Caveat: there is some polarity in the N-H bond. That is, a given electron is more likely to be found around the nitrogen in an N-H bond than the hydrogen. However, it is far from being a complete charge transfer.)
I understand everything except this point 'Add the 2 non-bonding 1s electrons and you have 6 total electrons assigned to nitrogen for the sake of formal charge.' Add to which atom the 2 non-bonding 1 s electrons? Could you simplify your point, please?

TeethWhitener