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# Help Zone

### Student Question

Secondary II • 1yr.

Hello again! :)

Why is water not an element but a compound? In fact, I don't quite understand the difference. Do you have a tip?

Science

## Explanations (1)

• Explanation from Alloprof

Explanation from Alloprof

This Explanation was submitted by a member of the Alloprof team.

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Team Alloprof • 1yr. edited September 2021

Hello KindTyrannosaurus332! :)

First, an element is a unique type of atom that can be found in the periodic table of the elements. You cannot separate the elements by physical or chemical means.

Then, a compound is a type of molecule made up of more than one type of atom. The compounds can be separated by physical or chemical means.

Water is not an element. Its chemical formula is as follows:

$$H_{2}O$$

As you can see, water is made up of two different elements: hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O).

A good tip for distinguishing compounds and elements is to observe their chemical formula: If they contain more than one capital letter, it is a compound. If they contain only one uppercase letter, it is an element. (This is because of their notation in the periodic table: the chemical symbol for all elements begins with a capital letter).

Do not hesitate if you have other questions!