Learn Chinese Characters

What Are Strokes?

Every Chinese character is composed by lines called strokes.

A stroke is a mark traced by a single movement of the pen. Writing each stroke (simple or complex), from its beginning to its end, you need not lift your pen from the paper.

It's important also to respect the direction of each stroke. For example, you cannot draw the horizontal stroke (see below) from right to left, but from left to right.

A Chinese character might be composed by only one or even by more than thirty strokes.

In the following table you see the shape of all simple strokes with their name, writing direction and some example characters containing them.

SIMPLE STROKES
StrokeName
(and direction)
Examples
Dot strokedot
(downwards a bit to the right)
Dot stroke example 1Dot stroke example 2
Left dot stroke left dot
(downwards a bit to the left)
Left dot stroke example 1Left dot stroke example 2
Long dot strokelong dot
(falling from left to rigth)
Long dot stroke example 1Long dot stroke example 2
Horizontal strokehorizontal
(left to right)
Horizontal stroke example 1Horizontal stroke example 2
Vertical strokevertical
(downwards)
Vertical stroke example 1Vertical stroke example 2
Left-falling strokeleft-falling
(falling from right to left)
Left-falling stroke example 1Left-falling stroke example 2
Flat left-falling strokeflat left-falling
(falling slightly from right to left)
Flat left-falling stroke example 1Flat left-falling stroke example 2
Vertical left-falling strokevertical left-falling
(downwards slightly to the left)
Vertical left-falling stroke example 1Vertical left-falling stroke example 2
Right-falling strokeright-falling
(falling from left to right)
Right-falling stroke example 1Right-falling stroke example 2
Flat right-falling strokeflat right-falling
(falling slightly from left to right)
Flat right-falling stroke example 1Flat right-falling stroke example 2
Rising strokerising
(upwards from left to right)
Rising stroke example 1Rising stroke example 2
Horizontal hook strokehorizontal hook
(from left to right plus downwards hook)
Horizontal hook stroke example 1Horizontal hook stroke example 2
Vertical hook strokevertical hook
(downwards plus rising hook to the left)
Vertical hook stroke example 1Vertical hook stroke example 2
Curved hook strokecurved hook
(downwards plus rising hook to the left)
Curved hook stroke example 1Curved hook stroke example 2
Diagonal hook strokediagonal hook
(downwards plus upwards hook)
Diagonal hook stroke example 1Diagonal hook stroke example 2
Lying hook strokelying hook
(falling from left to right plus upwards hook)
Lying hook stroke example 1Lying hook stroke example 2

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