How to Write Chinese Characters
Strokes are used to form Chinese characters. A horizontal stroke is written from the left to the right and a vertical stroke is written from the top to the bottom. Some of the single strokes are in more complicated forms. (See the descriptions below) Learning the rules of writing Chinese characters is essential to beginners. By watching the animations on this page and practising them on a piece of paper will enable you to learn Chinese characters more quickly. All the materials on this page can help you to remember more Chinese words; to count the number of strokes correctly when using a Chinese dictionary and to read Chinese people’s hand writing.
Please click on the following links to view the animated strokes. The words on the bottom-left of the animation frames indicate the directions of strokes.
Basic single strokes
Chinese dictionaries have indexes of radicals (部首 bùshŏu section header), under which Chinese words are listed. Many radicals are Chinese characters, but some of them are merely components of characters with "meanings". The following list is of the commonly used "meaning-bearing” radicals. (Also see Wiktionary) Click on the following links to see how the radicals are written. The pop-up windows give examples of characters that contain the relevant radicals. Click here for more information on the positions of the radicals in characters.
Radicals on the upper part of characters
Radicals on the left
Radicals on the right
Radicals in the middle
Radicals on the lower part of characters
Partly and completely enclosed radicals
Radicals on the upper or lower part of characters