Chinese characters are used in the writing of Chinese. They are called 汉字(hanzi) in Chinese. It is believed that Chinese characters are the oldest continuously-used system of writing in the world.

You will see Chinese Characters in Chinese words, phrases, and sentences. Radicals are the component of Chinese characters while strokes are the basic elements of radicals.

1. Strokes

A stroke is a single brush of pen on the paper. All Chinese characters are made of one or more strokes. Every stroke should be written in a specific way, called stroke order.

Stroke Types
Strokes are traditionally categorized into five basic forms, we list them as the following.

1. ”丶“:点 "dian"
太 寸 江 河 永

2. ” 一“ :横 "heng"
一 二 大 干 永

3. “丨”:竖 "shu"
十 干 木 王 永

4. “丿”: 撇 "pie"
人 儿 女 木 永

5."乀": 捺 "na"
八 人 大 天 木

The following Chinese Characters' Stroke Table lists all of the strokes for the simplified Chinese characters. Learning common strokes of Chinese characters can be a great help on your Chinese characters study.

These strokes are usually combined to form different Chinese radicals, then Chinese characters.

Stroke Table of Chinese Characters are available to Members.

2. Radicals

Radicals are the basic component of Chinese characters. There are about 200 radicals in Chinese characters and they are often reflecting some common semantic or phonetic characteristic.

For example, the character口 (mouth) is frequently used as a radical in characters related to mouth such as 吃, meaning ‘eat’, 喝, meaning ‘drink’.

The following Chinese Radical Table lists all of the radicals for the simplified Chinese characters in the order of the stroke counts. The radicals are used to index the characters for Chinese dictionaries. Learning common radicals can be a great help on your Chinese characters study.

These radicals are usually combined to form different Chinese characters.

Chinese Radical Table

Stroke Count
区字框2区,匠,匣right open box
同字框2同,冈,网down box
京字头2京, 六,交lid

Full Version of the Chinese Radical Table are available to Members.

3. Stroke and Radical orders

There is an order to write strokes and radicals in a Chinese character.
The following are the general rules.

1. From left to right
2. From top to bottom
3. Horizontal before vertical
4. Outside before inside
5. Bottom enclosing strokes last


4. Common Chinese Characters

There are over 80,000 Chinese characters. How many Chinese characters do you need to know? Here are the coverage rates of the most frequently used Chinese characters:

Most frequently used 1,000 characters: ~90% (Coverage rate)
Most frequently used 2,500 characters: 98.0% (Coverage rate)
Most frequently used 3,500 characters: 99.5% (Coverage rate)

Therefore, if you know about 3,500 Chinese characters, you should be able to handle normal Chinese listening, speaking, reading and writing tasks.

5. The Most Common Chinese Characters

Here we are going to make a compilation of the most frequently used characters in modern, simplified Chinese. The most common Chinese characters are put in order of frequency from the highest to the lowest.

Full Version of The Most Common Chinese Characters are available to Members.

If you are interested in learning Chinese, please take a look at the Free Chinese Lessons that are practical and fun.

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