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What is the valency of nitrogen?

The valency of an element is a measure of its combining power with other atoms when it forms chemical compounds or molecules. It depends upon the number of valence electrons present in the outermost shell.


Nitrogen is an element from Group V of the periodic table. It is a non metal that exists in atmosphere in it's Diatomic form i.e. Nitrogen gas (N2).

The atomic number of nitrogen is 7 and it's 

Electronic configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p3.

From which we can conclude that the outermost shell is 2 and the total number of valence electrons is 5; 2 in s orbital and 3 in p orbital.

Thus, the valency of nitrogen is 5. But it mostly has a valency of 3 as it only requires 3 more electrons to complete its octet (octet rule) and form a stable configuration when valence electrons from p orbitals participate in chemical reactions. The s orbital electrons mostly act as a lone pair.

E.g In Ammonia only 3 hydrogens bond with Nitrogen and the s orbital electrons act as lone pairs. So the valency for NH3 is 3 whereas in N2O5 the valency is 5.

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