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Compounds with Transition Metals: Formula Writing

When we have a metal and a non-metal we have an ionic compound.

Metal + Non-Metal = Ionic Compound

If we have a transition metal the charge will be shown in parentheses after the element name.

For example,
write the formula for:
  • Iron (III) chloride
  • Lead (IV) nitrate
  • Aluminum nitride

Practice: The key to success.

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Keys for Writing Formulas for Compounds with Transition Metals:

  • Write the symbol and charge for the transition metal. The charge is the Roman Numeral in parentheses.
  • Write the symbol and charge for the non-metal. If you have a polyatomic ion, use the Common Ion table to find the formula and charge.
  • See if the charges are balanced (if they are you’re done!)
  • Add subscripts (if necessary) so the charge for the entire compound is zero.
  • Use the crisscross method to check your work.


  • Don’t write the subscript '1'.
  • If you use the criss-cross method and end up with something like Ca2S2 you'll need to reduce the subscripts to Ca1S1 which we write CaS.

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