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The sulphur K-edge x-ray absorption spectra of SO2 multilayer and of SO2 submonolayer adsorbed on Cu(100) are analysed. It is found that the dominant spectral features are of a molecular origin. The results support earlier findings that the SO2 molecule stands perpendicular to the surface. Use of non-selfconsistent potentials does not lead to a good quantitative agreement between theory and experiment.