Chinese Characters 101 (Part 2): The 12 Stroke Order Rules

This is Part 2 – The 12 Stroke Order Rules

Handwriting characters is essential as a means of developing muscle memory to further enhance your retention of Chinese characters. It’s also very useful to be able to write Chinese by hand in certain situations. Just to be 100% clear, though, we do NOT advocate rote learning!

We just recommend writing them out once or twice while learning or reviewing them for the reasons stated above. In order to write characters in a remotely legible way, you need to follow a clear set of rules. There are 12 stroke order rules you need to follow. Here they are one-by-one:

Rule #1: From Top To Bottom

Character Stroke Order: Rule 1

Stroke Order Rule #2: From Left To Right

Character Stroke Order: Rule 2

Rule #3: Horizontal Before Vertical

Character Stroke Order: Rule 3

#4: Diagonals Right-To-Left Before Diagonals Left-To-Right

Character Stroke Order: Rule 4

#5: Outside Before Inside

Character Stroke Order: Rule 5

Rule #6: Inside Before Outside

Character Stroke Order: Rule 6

#7:  Inside Before Bottom Enclosing

Character Stroke Order: Rule 7

#8: Center Verticals Before Outside “Wings”

Character Stroke Order: Rule 8

Stroke Order Rule #9: Cutting Strokes Last

Character Stroke Order: Rule 9

#10: Left Vertical Before Enclosing

Character Stroke Order: Rule 10

#11: Top Or Upper-Left Dots First

Character Stroke Order: Rule 11

Rule #12: Inside Or Upper-Right Dots Last  

Character Stroke Order: Rule 12

Thanks to ArchChinese for this list and thanks to commons.wikimedia.org for the images!

Character Components
7 March , 2019
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