Difference Between Positive and Negative Ion | Positive vs Negative Ion

The key difference between positive and negative ion is that the positive ion carries a positive electrical charge whereas the negative ion carries a negative electrical charge.

Ions are chemical species that derive from either the electron loss or gain. Therefore, these species carry an electrical charge. This charge can be either positive or negative. Hence, there are two forms of ions as positive ions and negative ions.


1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Positive Ion
3. What is Negative Ion
4. Side by Side Comparison – Positive vs Negative Ion in Tabular Form
5. Summary

What is Positive Ion?

Positive ions are chemical species that carries a positive electrical charge. We call it a cation. These cations form when a neutral chemical species loses an electron from its chemical structure. Positive ions can be atoms or moieties of molecules.

These species have protons and electrons in equal amounts in order to neutralize the charges. Therefore, when this atom or molecule loses an electron, there is an extra proton which has a positive charge. This gives a net positive charge to the atom or molecule. Moreover, these ions are in several forms as monoatomic ions, diatomic ions or polyatomic ions according to the number of atoms present in the ionic species.

Ex: K+, Na+, NH4+, etc.

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