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If you are referring to Pt(s) or C(graphite), those elements are added to the cell diagram if there is no solid present in the original equation. This is because if you refer to the visual representation of the cell diagram, the anode and cathode require a solid metal to transfer electrons from one side to the other. If the anode or cathode are not solid but rather aqueous or gaseous, Pt(s) and C(graphite) act as conductors for the electrons, but since they are inert substances they will not transfer electrons themselves.
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