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You would use the periodic table patterns and trends. Metals which are on the left of the periodic table will be a positively charged ion depending on the column (column 1 = +1 charge) and will go up to the fourth column. Non-metals, which are on the right of the periodic table, starting the fifth column will be negatively charged depending on the column. (column 5 = -3, column 4 = -2).
Elements that are not transition-group elements usually have constant charges, especially nonmetals. In those cases, you would just use the charge of the cation or anion. For instance, potassium would be K+ (1+ charge) while chloride would be Cl- and have a -1 charge. To determine the charge of transition group metal ions, calculate the overall charge of the molecule and the charge of the other ions involved and subtract.
The overall charge of each side should be equal since no electrons are lost or gained in the reaction, just transferred from one molecule to another. I find it best to memorize the common charges for common elements so you know how the charge will change. I do believe for metals there is a correlation for metals in the same group and there charges, just I am unsure what it is at the moment.
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