Writing Chinese Characters – Stroke Order and Types

2013 February 8
by Myra

Many Chinese learners complain about the difficulty in writing Chinese characters.  People have no clue about how and where to put the first stroke, or what order should be followed when writing the Chinese characters. Actually all characters are composed by simple strokes,  and there are only a few rules when writing them. Once you know the rules, writing them is fun and easy!

In this article I will discuss two simple concepts when writing characters:

1 – the types of strokes when writing characters

2 – the stroke order when writing characters

Types of Strokes

Most of the Chinese characters are composed of eight basic types of strokes. The character “永” (yong) is a great example because it contains all eight of them:


1. “Dian” – A simple dot.


2. “Heng” – Horizontal stroke, left to right.


3. “Shu” – Vertical stroke, top to bottom.


4. “Gou” – Hook appended to other strokes.


5. “Ti” – Diagonal stroke, rising from left to right.


6. “Pie” – Diagonal stroke, falling from right to left.


7. “Duan Pie” – Short diagonal stroke, falling from right to left.


8. “Na” – Horizontal stroke, falling from left to right.


Stroke Order

Writing characters in the right order is essential for students to memorize how to write Chinese characters. Also sometimes when reading written Chinese it isn’t very legible, so knowing the stroke order becomes very important.

There are basically 8 rules for stroke order:

1. Top to bottom


2. Left to right


3. Left vertical stroke before top horizontal stroke


4. Bottom horizontal stroke last


5. Center stroke before wings


6. Horizontal strokes before intersecting vertical strokes 66

7. Left-falling strokes before right-falling strokes


8. Minor strokes (often) last


Even the most complicated Chinese characters are composed of the above 8 simple strokes. They might be intimidating at first sight, but if you follow the correct order, writing them can be fun and predictable!

Want to know more about Chinese language and culture? Please stay tuned for more articles from Hills Learning.


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