Which of the following best explains how water is able to dissolve ionic substances?
The positive and negative charges of the water molecule pull on the negative and positive ends of the ionic molecule to break them apart.
The strong hydrogen bond on water attracts the positive end of the ionic molecule and breaks the ionic bond.
The water molecule shares its electrons in a covalent bond with the positive end of the ionic molecule to break the ionic bond.
Water acts as a proton donor for the negative end of the ionic molecule to attract the anion and form a new ionic molecule.
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They're actually partial charges on water molecules. Water itself is not charged - but the oxygen atom is 'stronger' than the hydrogen atoms and 'pulls' the bonding electrons toward it and in so doing gets a partial negative charge while the hydrogen moieties get partial positive charges.
These partial positive and negative charges can associate with opposite charges in ionic compounds and weaken the forces which hold those compounds together. So the answer is the first option.
A wonderful question, though!