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In ionic bonds, there's a transfer of electrons from a metal to nonmetal atom. In covalent bonds, non-metals share electrons. But, many bonds have both ionic and covalent characteristics. Roughly, an electronegativity difference between atoms that is greater than 2 indicates an ionic bond, an electronegativity difference of less than 1.5 indicates a covalent bond.
Covalent bonds can have ionic characteristics if the atoms in the molecule share the electron unequally (have different electronegativities/electron affinities). Atoms with higher electronegativity will pull the shared electrons closer to it, thus making it slightly negative. The element that has the electron slightly pulled away will be slightly positive.
Elements in ionic bond donate and accept electrons while elements in covalent bond share electrons. The difference in electronegativity is also higher for ionic bond. Ionic bond is usually between a metal and a nonmetal.
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