What Is a Group on the Periodic Table?


The periodic table is an organized, methodical way of understanding inter-relationships between different elements; a group on the periodic table is a column of elements.


  • There are a total of 18 groups on the periodic table. In the American periodic table, groups are labeled numerically, whereas in Europe, they are labeled by using Roman numerals.

Group Similarity

  • Each group, or column, on the periodic table contain elements that have the same number of electrons in their outer most electron shell.

Grouping Theory

  • Elements are grouped together based on the number of electrons in their outer most electron shell because the number of electrons in the outer shell determines how that element will react with other elements. Therefore, groups of elements "behave" similarity, or are said to have similar chemical properties.

Main Group Elements

  • Groups are categorized based on their similarity with other groups. The main group elements consist of groups 1 and 2, and 13 through 18. Main group elements visually make up the left and right sides of the periodic table. Main group elements consist of the most abundantly found elements on Earth, including all non-metal elements (like hydrogen and helium) and some transitional metals.

Transition Elements

  • Groups 3 through 11 are the transitional elements, which are all metals.


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