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For metals and nonmetals (in Group 1, Group 2, and Groups 13-18), you can determine an ion's charge by looking at the valence electrons in the s and p group. Calcium for example would be a +2 charge. Sulfur would have a -2 charge because it has 6 valence electrons and needs two more to complete its octet. Transition metals can vary but its total net charge can be determined by looking at the net charge of whole molecule. For example, if the net charge of the molecule is -2 then Iron in Fe2O3 would have a +2 charge.
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