Through examples discovered in the sections on acids and also bases proton-transfer procedures are broken into two hypothetical steps: (1) donation of a proton by one acid, and (2) accept of a proton by a base. (Water offered as the base in the acid example and as the mountain in the base example ). The theoretical steps room useful because they make it basic to watch what varieties is left after ~ an mountain donated a proton and also what varieties is formed when a base accepted a proton. We shall use hypothetical steps or half-equations in this section, yet you should bear in psychic that totally free protons never actually exist in aqueous solution.

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Suppose we an initial consider a weak acid, the ammonium ion. When it donates a proton to any kind of other species, we deserve to write the half-equation:

\< \textNH_4^+ \rightarrow \textH^+ +\textNH_3\>

The submicroscopic representations listed below show the donation of the proton that ammonium. The remove of this proton results in NH3, which is easily seen in ~ the submicroscopic level.

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But NH3 is one of the link we recognize as a weak base. In other words, when it donates a proton, the weak acid NH4+ is transformed right into a weak base NH3. One more example, this time starting with a weak base, is listed by fluoride ion:

\<\textF^- + \textH^+ \rightarrow \textHF\>

The submicroscopic representation above shows how the addition of a proton come fluoride converts a weak base (F- in green) right into a weak acid (HF).

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The case just explained for NH4+ and NH3 or because that F– and HF uses to every acids and bases. At any time an mountain donates a proton, the acid transforms into a base, and whenever a base accepts a proton, an acid is formed. One acid and also a base which differ just by the visibility or lack of a proton are dubbed a conjugate acid-base pair. For this reason NH3 is dubbed the conjugate base of NH4+, and also NH4+ is the conjugate mountain of NH3. Similarly, HF is the conjugate acid of F–, and F– the conjugate base of HF.


The usage of conjugate acid-base pairs enables us to make a very an easy statement about relative strengths of acids and also bases. The more powerful an acid, the weaker its conjugate base, and, vice versa, the more powerful a base, the weaker that conjugate acid.

TABLE \(\PageIndex1\):Important Conjugate Acid-Base Pairs.

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altwhat is transferred between a conjugate acid-base pair