Interactions, reactions or processes classified as:

Ambidentate Sulfinate Ions

According to Pearsons hard soft [Lewis] acid base principle, hard Lewis acids have a strong affinity for hard Lewis bases and soft Lewis acids have a strong affinity for soft Lewis bases.

Sulfinate ions are ambidentate: they can react via their softer sulfur anion centre to give sulfones, or via their harder oxyanion centres to yield sulfinate esters. Sulfinate ions can discriminate between hard and soft Lewis acid centres.

Note that while hard vs soft comparisons can be made for carefully selected pairs of species and/or reactive centres, the HSAB analysis is NOT general. For more information look in the Chemogenesis webbook section on Pearson's HSAB principle.