Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

1.6: Stroke Order

  • Page ID
  • Now that you have learned about the basic strokes used when writing Chinese, let's go into a little more detail about how to combine strokes to form Chinese characters.  In order to write characters that look correct, you must write each stroke in the correct order and direction.  There are a number of principles that can be used as guides to stroke order.  Here are seven rules of thumb.

    Rule of Thumb #1: Top-to-Bottom

    When a Chinese character is “stacked” vertically, like the character 立  or “to stand,” the rule is to write from top to bottom.

    Rule of Thumb #2: Left-to-Right

    When a Chinese character has a radical, the character is written left to right. The same rule applies to characters that are stacked horizontally. Take a look at the 吃 chī example above, which means “to eat.”

    Rule of Thumb #3: Symmetry Counts 

    When you are writing a character that is centered and more or less symmetrical (but not stacked from top to bottom) the general rule is to write the center stroke first. Check out the character 小 xiǎo which means “small.”

    Rule of Thumb #4: Horizontal First, Vertical Second 

    Horizontal strokes are always written before vertical strokes. Check out how to write the character 十 shí or “ten.”

    Rule of Thumb #5: Enclosures before Content 

    You want to create the frame of the character before you fill it in. Check out how to write the character 日  or “sun.”

    Rule fo Thumb #6: Close Frames Last 

    Remember this step as, "You want to fill the closet before you close the door.” After you write the middle strokes, close the frame, such as in the character 回 huí or “to return.”

    Rule of Thumb #7: Character-spanning Strokes Last 

    For strokes that cut across many other strokes, they are often written last. For example, the character 半 bàn, which means “half.” The vertical line is written last.

    However, there are always exceptions to everything. In order to truly master stroke order, you need to learn each radical and character individually and practice writing them.

    Below is a table showing the stroke order for many radicals.  Radicals are the building blocks of characters, and we'll discuss them next.  Again, don't worry, you need not learn all of these right now!  For reference only.  You can also click on the image of each radical for a close-up view or on the number next to it for more detailed information.

    1 stroke

    1一-order.gif 2丨-order.gif 3丶-order.gif 4丿-order.gif 5乙-order.gif 6亅-order.gif

    2 strokes 7二-order.gif 8亠-order.gif 9人-order.gif

    10儿-order.gif 11入-order.gif 12八-order.gif 13冂-order.gif 14冖-order.gif 15冫-order.gif 16几-order.gif 17凵-order.gif 18刀-order.gif 19力-order.gif 20勹-order.gif 21匕-order.gif 22匚-order.gif 23匸-order.gif 24十-order.gif

    25卜-order.gif 26卩-order.gif 27厂-order.gif 28厶-order.gif 29又-order.gif
    3 strokes 30口-order.gif 31囗-order.gif 32土-order.gif 33士-order.gif 34夂-order.gif

    35夊-order.gif 36夕-order.gif 37大-order.gif 38女-order.gif 39子-order.gif 40宀-order.gif 41寸-order.gif 42小-order.gif 43尢-order.gif 44尸-order.gif 45屮-order.gif 46山-order.gif 47巛-order.gif 48工-order.gif 49己-order.gif 50巾-order.gif 51干-order.gif 52幺-order.gif 53广-order.gif 54廴-order.gif 55廾-order.gif 56弋-order.gif 57弓-order.gif 58彐-order.gif 59彡-order.gif

    4 strokes 61心-order.gif 62戈-order.gif 63戶-order.gif 64手-order.gif

    65支-order.gif 66攴-order.gif 67文-order.gif 68斗-order.gif 69斤-order.gif 70方-order.gif 71无-order.gif 72日-order.gif 73曰-order.gif 74月-order.gif 75木-order.gif 76欠-order.gif 77止-order.gif 78歹-order.gif 79殳-order.gif 80毋-order.gif 81比-order.gif 82毛-order.gif 83氏-order.gif 84气-order.gif 85水-order.gif 86火-order.gif 87爪-order.gif 88父-order.gif 89爻-order.gif

    90爿-order.gif 91片-order.gif 92牙-order.gif 93牛-order.gif 94犬-order.gif
    5 strokes 95玄-order.gif 96玉-order.gif 97瓜-order.gif 98瓦-order.gif 99甘-order.gif

    100生-order.gif 101用-order.gif 102田-order.gif 103疋-order.gif 104疒-order.gif 105癶-order.gif 106白-order.gif 107皮-order.gif 108皿-order.gif 109目-order.gif 110矛-order.gif 111矢-order.gif 112石-order.gif 113示-order.gif 114禸-order.gif

    115禾-order.gif 116穴-order.gif 117立-order.gif
    6 strokes 118竹-order.gif 119米-order.gif

    120糸-order.gif 121缶-order.gif 122网-order.gif 123羊-order.gif 124羽-order.gif 125老-order.gif 126而-order.gif 127耒-order.gif 128耳-order.gif 129聿-order.gif 130肉-order.gif 131臣-order.gif 132自-order.gif 133至-order.gif 134臼-order.gif 135舌-order.gif 136舛-order.gif 137舟-order.gif 138艮-order.gif 139色-order.gif 140艸-order.gif 141虍-order.gif 142虫-order.gif 143血-order.gif 144行-order.gif

    145衣-order.gif 146襾-order.gif
    7 strokes 147見-order.gif 148角-order.gif 149言-order.gif

    150谷-order.gif 151豆-order.gif 152豕-order.gif 153豸-order.gif 154貝-order.gif 155赤-order.gif 156走-order.gif 157足-order.gif 158身-order.gif 159車-order.gif 160辛-order.gif 161辰-order.gif 162辵-order.gif 163邑-order.gif 164酉-order.gif

    165釆-order.gif 166里-order.gif
    8 strokes 167金-order.gif 168長-order.gif 169門-order.gif

    170阜-order.gif 171隶-order.gif 172隹-order.gif 173雨-order.gif 174靑-order.gif

    9 strokes 176面-order.gif 177革-order.gif 178韋-order.gif 179韭-order.gif

    180音-order.gif 181頁-order.gif 182風-order.gif 183飛-order.gif 184食-order.gif

    185首-order.gif 186香-order.gif
    10 strokes

    187馬-order.gif 188骨-order.gif 189高-order.gif 190髟-order.gif 191 192鬯-order.gif 193鬲-order.gif 194鬼-order.gif

    11 strokes

    195魚-order.gif 196鳥-order.gif 197鹵-order.gif 198鹿-order.gif 199麥-order.gif 200麻-order.gif

    12 strokes

    201黃-order.gif 202黍-order.gif 203黑-order.gif 204黹-order.gif

    13 strokes

    205黽-order.gif 206鼎-order.gif 207鼓-order.gif 208鼠-order.gif

    14 strokes

    209鼻-order.gif 210齊-order.gif

    15 strokes


    16 strokes

    212龍-order.gif 213龜-order.gif

    17 strokes




    • Was this article helpful?