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cis- and trans- are used to indicate the placements of ligands when there are multiple of them. When cis- is used the similar substances will be arranged on the same side while with trans- this indicates that they will be arranged on opposite sides.
Cis- vs. trans- are prefixes that indicate the position of ligands. Cis- occurs when both ligands are on the same side and therefore cause the molecule to be polar. Trans- is when ligands are on opposite sides and cancel each other's charges out, leaving the molecule as nonpolar.
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