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How to write Chinese characters


The order of strokes of Chinese characters are traditionally classified into eight basic forms, each appearing in the character "eternally" and listed below according to their contemporary names. Though somewhat arbitrary, this system has remained popular for nearly two millenia.   (Learn to write the most common 1000 Chinese characters.)

These basic strokes are sometimes combined without the pen leaving the paper. In the above example of "eternally", strokes 2-3-4 are written as one continuous stroke, as are strokes 5-6. Hence in dictionaries this character is indexed as having five separate strokes.

Stroke Order     ( Learn to write the most common 1000 Chinese characters :  ... )

Writing characters in the correct order is essential for the character to look correct.

Despite these conflicts between rules most students quickly acquire a natural feel for the proper stroke order.

Component Order   ( Learn to write the most common 1000 Chinese characters :  ... )
Most Chinese characters are combinations of simpler, component characters. Usually the two parts are written
at top and bottom, or left and right.

so that the main two stroke order rules readily apply. Occasionally these rules also conflict with respect to components. When one component is at the bottom-left, and the other at the top-right, the top-right component is sometimes written first.

When there are several components, top components are written first.

These rules usually imply each component is written in its entirety before another component is written. Exceptions may arise when one component divides another,

encompasses another,

or the individual components are no longer discernible in modern writing.