Identify the oxidizing agent and the reducing agent.
5Ag(s) + MnO4-(aq) + H+(aq) >>> 5Ag+(aq) + Mn2+(aq) + H2O(l)
Increase of electrons is reduction caused by a reducing agent.
Decrease of electrons is oxidation caused by an oxidizing agent.
The Attempt at a Solution
The answer has MnO4- as what is reduced and therefor the oxidizing agent, and of course 5Ag+(aq) as the reducing agent.
I don't understand why the whole polyatomic ion is said to be reduced; it doesn't even exist on the other side of the equation. I totally understand why Ag(s) because it is clearly getting oxidized.
To me, this is like asking when an ice cube is colder, before it melts or after it melts. It doesn't make sense because there is no ice cube after it melts.