Books as well as numerous articles have been written about hydrogen passivation in classical semiconductors such as Si and GaAs. The subject has gained a renewed interest recently since hydrogen is widely considered to saturate the hole conductivity of the wide bandgap semiconductors GaN and ZnSe which are currently most promising for blue light emitting devices. Other group-I impurities are capable of compensating the electrical conductivity of semiconductors both through directly neutralising (passivating) the impurity or providing space charge of polarity opposite to that of the dominating one. The paper reviews the similarities and differences between hydrogen and its light metallic neighbour in the periodic table, lithium. Also we provide a comparison with the heavier interstitial copper which is known for its ability to passivate shallow acceptors. Finally fundamental differences between shallow-level and deep level passivation will be addressed.