We measured sorption of selenite and phosphate, both separately and in competition, in a Chilean Andisol. We also used previously published data for competitive sorption of arsenate and phosphate by a clay subsoil. We wrote computer programs that allowed us to compare the fits of differing versions of equations to describe individual sorption and competitive sorption. For the selenite-phosphate data, the index term of the Freundlich equation decreased as concentration increased. This was described using the Sibbesen modification of the Freundlich equation. This modification was then included in competition equations. For both the selenite-phosphate and the arsenate-phosphate data, competition was not 'symmetrical', that is, the competition terms were not reciprocals of each other. We think this occurred because competition between ions is not only competition for adsorption sites but also involves electrical effects that follow penetration of the surface.