Significance of classification

These three groups are: metals, nonmetals, and inert gases. Let's look at where these groups are located on the periodic table and correlate them with the ability to lose and gain electrons. Remember, these characterizations are oversimplifications.

First, the metals. They are found in the left, center and lower parts of the periodic table (red area). The metals are good at losing electrons, but they are poor at gaining electrons. The net effect is that the metals tend to lose electrons.

Second, the nonmetals. They are found on the top and right side of the periodic table (blue area). They include hydrogen. The nonmetals are poor at losing electrons, but they are good at gaining electrons. They gain electrons better than they lose them. So the nonmetals can be characterized by their ability to gain electrons.

Third, the inert gases, or the noble gases, as they are sometimes called, are found in the far right column of the periodic table (white area). Sometimes these are included with the nonmetals because they are not metals. However their behavior and properties are different enough from the other nonmetals that we will consider them as a separate classification. They are poor at both losing and gaining electrons. Therefore, for the most part, they neither gain nor lose electrons.

Example :

This is to describe the nature of the following types of atoms:

metals -   

elements that lose electrons fairly easily .

metalloids -   

elements that neither gain nor lose electrons very easily but can do both in moderation.

nonmetals -   

elements that gain electrons fairly easily (and do not lose electrons easily)

inert gases -   

elements that find it hard to either gain or lose electrons

Exampel 2 : Classify each of the folowing elements.

Na -


Fe -


F -


P -


Si -

nonmetal (or metalloid)

Ar -

inert gas