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You add -ate to the transition metal name when the compound in the brackets has an overall negative charge. Lavelle said this doesn't happen super often so the point is to make the name sound strange so that we are aware that it is different and negative.
I'm a little late but this question was a good review for me moving on to other chemistry classes so thanks! Lavelle said in a lecture that when the coordination sphere is overall negative you add the -ate to the end of the TM name!
The suffix -ate is used in the case that the whole complex of the coordination compound is actually negative. Therefore, its anions and hence it will commonly be found at the end of a compound. I say this because the anions are followed after cations. For example Na Cl- therefore, cations than anions. That's a tip. Other than that, the overall charge is negative it's ate.
You would use the suffix -ate when the coordinate compound is acting as the anion when interacting with a cation. So, instead of just having the metal name and then the charge, you would add -ate (like nickelate) at the end of the metal name to help indicate that it is acting as the anion.
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