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Ionic bonds form when a metal transfers its electrons with a nonmetal (this involves cation and anion interactions), and covalent bonds form when nonmetals share electrons. Nonmetals do not form cations because their ionization energies are too high.
Ionic bonds consist of ions in a ratio that result in electrical neutrality. They consist of a metal (cation) and a nonmetal (anion). Metals are cations since they give electrons, whereas nonmetals are anions because they gain electrons. On the other hand, covalent bonds consist of electrically neutral molecules. They consist of a pair of electrons shared between two atoms, typically nonmetals.
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