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# Why is the formula for nitric acid: HNO3?

It was a multiple choice and I looked it up to get the answer; but how could I have known this on a test? crossing the charges seemed to work; is that correct?

### 5 Answers

- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
You are definitely on the right track. Nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid are examples of strong acids that, when in solution, completely dissociates into H^+ ions and the respective counterion. The counterion's charge will give you a clue on the formula:

1) Nitric acid. Sounds like nitrate. The nitrate anion is NO3^-. So, crossing charges, the subscript on the H is 1 and the formula is HNO3.

2) Hydrochloric acid. Sounds like chloride. The chloride anion is Cl^-. It has a charge of -1, and so crossing charges, HCl.

3) Sulfuric acid. Sounds like sulfate. But sulfate is SO4^2-, so crossing charges, that's why the formula is H2SO4.

- Anonymous6 years ago
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RE:

Why is the formula for nitric acid: HNO3?

It was a multiple choice and I looked it up to get the answer; but how could I have known this on a test? crossing the charges seemed to work; is that correct?

Source(s): formula nitric acid hno3: https://knowledge.im/?s=formula+nitric+acid+hno3 - How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Yes. Another thing all acids have hydrogen in them or they form H+ ions.