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Inert pair effect is simply the reluctance of ns orbital electron pair to take part in bonding.
Eg, In case of p-block elements, the valancy of +3 becomes more pre-dominant than +5 as the ns electrons do not participate in bonding.
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Heavy elements in certain groups of the periodic table form compounds in which they exist with oxidation states two less than the common oxidation state for that group.
For example, although the common oxidation state for elements in group 4 is +4, most elements in the group can also exist in oxidation state +2.
This is because of the inert pair effect. In large atoms, such as those of tin and lead, some outer-shell electrons are not as well shielded as those in the inner core.
They are therefore sucked into the inner core of electrons and thus become inert.