I'm learning about common polyatomic ions right now and as intuitive as it is, I still want to know where the -ate suffixes come from for most of the anions. I have searched extensively (that's why I found out those are called oxyanions) to know where the -ate suffix comes from and all but one just says that "the one with the higher oxygen atoms has an -ate ending while the lower has an -ite ending"
which isn't exactly what I'm looking for.
What I'm looking for is an explanation as to where the -ate suffix comes from in oxyanions independent to the number of oxygen atoms from other oxyanions in its category.
The closest one I could get is from sciencing.com
in their article "How to Name Polyatomic Ions" and it says that:"Add the prefix "-ate" if the ion has the higher number of oxygen atoms for an element that can form only two anions. Add the prefix "-ite" for the ion with the lower number of oxygen atoms."
Sadly, I couldn't make sense of it. So I hope someone can provide me with an explanation here