What is the oxidation number of sulfur in SO2?

Answer

In order to figure out the oxidation number of an atom within a compound, you would generally want to assume that the overall compound has an oxidation number of 0 (the sum of the oxidation numbers of all the individual atoms in the molecule), unless otherwise specified. In the case of SO2, it is common knowledge in the field of chemistry that the oxidation number of oxygen is typically -2. Since there are two oxygen atoms in this molecule, the oxidation number of sulfur in SO2 is most likely +4.
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