Stroke Order for Chinese Characters

  • Stroke order (笔顺) refers to the correct order in which the strokes of a Chinese character are written.
  • The number of strokes per character for most characters is between one and thirty.
  • The rules for writing Chinese characters are intended to smooth hand motion and are important for the character to look nice and appealing.
  • The basic rule when writing Chinese characters, is to always write from top to bottom and from left to right, which are easily understandable, since they are used in most Western writings too. However, there are some exceptions.
  • Here are the basic rules that give you good guidelines to follow:
  1. Left to right:
    三 , 队
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  2. Top to bottom
    安,天
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  3. Horizontal before vertical
    十,午
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  4. Center before outside
    小,水
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  5. Cutting strokes last
    牛,中
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  6. Diagonals right-to-left before diagonals left-to-right
    人,文
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  7. Enclosures before contents
    四,月
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  8. Bottom enclosures last
    还, 凶
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  9. Bottom lines always last
    王,请
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  10. Dots and minor strokes last
    玉,求
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Notes:

  • When the number of strokes increases, these basic rules may sometimes become inadequate, or there may be more than one correct stroke orders.
  • China, Hong Kong or Taiwan may have different stroke orders for certain Chinese characters:
    母,舟
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8 thoughts on “Stroke Order for Chinese Characters”

    1. Hi Julio,

      Correct stroke order will make your writing neater and look better. It is quite important in caligraphy.

      Here is some good points I found in a forum that I very agreed with:
      “As you begin writing faster, you start taking shortcuts, you drag the pen on the page, sometimes combine strokes, etc. – if you write in the wrong order then it will look garbled. When you look at adult handwriting, often the way to figure out what is written is to follow the flow of the pen – and if you are writing it out, they will expect the same. It’s not just random rules – it’s a way of making sure that the flow of handwriting has consistency between people so it can be understood. It’s not just dogma – learn it right. It becomes very important in being able to read other’s handwriting and various fonts and calligraphy.”

  1. Hi,
    My name is Eunice and I am going to be learning Chinese soon. Do you have any tips and tricks to make it go faster or to help along the way? I really like your website and I’ll keep liking it…hahaha it has helped a whole lot. Also i would really like to know about some of the culture in China. Thankyou Very Much.

    1. Hi Eunice,
      Thanks for liking my website… 🙂
      I think the first step in learning Chinese would be getting your pronunciation correct. It is important that you get all the 4 tones in Pinyin pronounced correctly before you move on in your learning journey. I have created a Pinyin ebook that I hope would be useful for beginners.
      If you haven’t downloaded it, here is the link:
      http://www.learnchineseeveryday.com/learn-hanyu-pinyin-in-24-days/

      Thanks.

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