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You can check this by analyzing the ionization energy of each of them. Each element wants to become stable by either losing or gaining electrons so that their outermost shell follows the octet rule. For example, the element Sulfur has relatively high ionization energy and has 6 valence electrons. That means that Sulfur is most likely to form a -2 ion since it only needs two more electrons to become stable, rather than forming a +6 ion and losing 6 electrons.
The way I figure it out is I first look at the position of the element. If it is in Group1-3 it will lose the electron, so it will have a positive charge. If its in Group 15-17 it will gain electrons and have a negative charge. The amount of electrons it loses/gains represents the number.
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