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<a href=How To Make Sure Your Chinese Characters Are Balanced Aside from remembering how to write them, writing ‘beautiful’ characters can be a challenge. Using the adjective ‘beautiful’ might seem strange, but there is a particular finesse that comes with writing Chinese characters that, when written correctly, can be beautiful. When I first began learning to write Chinese characters (yes, you’ve heard my story a hundred times at least), they were mostly ugly. But when you’ve written a character 40 times or more to help remember it, there’s bound to be one that you can look upon proudly and say ‘that’s a beautiful character’. Unless you’re using stroke animations to learn how to write, it can often be difficult to know which strokes to use and in which order. We’ve covered both of these areas, in two articles ​ Chinese Character Stroke Rules (And How To Break Them!) ​ and ​ 12 Advanced Chinese Strokes to Help You Write Characters ​ . However, there’s another area that really needs to be looked into, and that’s character balance. You’ve probably heard me harp on about ​ ‘field’ notebooks ​ and if you’re using our dictionary, you may have noticed that behind the characters, is a faint cross. These lines are basically guidelines, to show you how to keep your characters balanced and therefore beautiful. Balance is an extremely important part of Chinese philosophy, essential to Traditional Chinese medicine, as well as aesthetically in the written language. Below are the ‘rules’ you need to follow when writing Chinese to ensure that your characters are balanced. The characters we’ve included in this post were taken from our ​ Written Chinese Dictionary ​ , as well as a Chinese hand-writing app, 云章 书 法 词 典 . Character Structure Page 1 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-0-2" src="pdf-obj-0-2.jpg">

Aside from remembering how to write them, writing ‘beautiful’ characters can be a challenge. Using the adjective ‘beautiful’ might seem strange, but there is a particular finesse that comes with writing Chinese characters that, when written correctly, can be beautiful.

When I first began learning to write Chinese characters (yes, you’ve heard my story a hundred times at least), they were mostly ugly. But when you’ve written a character 40 times or more to help remember it, there’s bound to be one that you can look upon proudly and say ‘that’s a beautiful character’.

Unless you’re using stroke animations to learn how to write, it can often be difficult to know which strokes to use and in which order. We’ve covered both of these areas, in two articles Chinese Character Stroke Rules (And How To Break Them!)and 12 Advanced Chinese Strokes to Help You Write Characters. However, there’s another area that really needs to be looked into, and that’s character balance.

You’ve probably heard me harp on about ‘field’ notebooksand if you’re using our dictionary, you may have noticed that behind the characters, is a faint cross. These lines are basically guidelines, to show you how to keep your characters balanced and therefore beautiful.

Balance is an extremely important part of Chinese philosophy, essential to Traditional Chinese medicine, as well as aesthetically in the written language.

Below are the ‘rules’ you need to follow when writing Chinese to ensure that your characters are balanced.

The characters we’ve included in this post were taken from our Written Chinese Dictionary, as well as a Chinese hand-writing app, 云章.

Character Structure

1. Left – Right 1.1 Left – Right Proportion Left ⅓ – Right ⅔ This 1-2语 ​ (y ǔ ) Page 2 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-1-2" src="pdf-obj-1-2.jpg">

1. Left – Right

1.1 Left – Right Proportion

Left – Right

This 1-2 ratio is used when the main stroke on the right side is larger than on the left. Some examples are , 丿, and .

Examples:

1. Left – Right 1.1 Left – Right Proportion Left ⅓ – Right ⅔ This 1-2语 ​ (y ǔ ) " id="pdf-obj-1-26" src="pdf-obj-1-26.jpg">

(yǔ)

<a href=打 ​ (d ǎ ) ​ (yáng) Left ⅔ – Right ⅓ Page 3 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-2-2" src="pdf-obj-2-2.jpg">
<a href=打 ​ (d ǎ ) ​ (yáng) Left ⅔ – Right ⅓ " id="pdf-obj-2-5" src="pdf-obj-2-5.jpg">

(dǎ)

<a href=打 ​ (d ǎ ) ​ (yáng) Left ⅔ – Right ⅓ " id="pdf-obj-2-13" src="pdf-obj-2-13.jpg">

(yáng)

Left – Right

The 2-1 ratio is used when there is no main stroke on the right side, and邻 ​ (lín) ​ (c ǎ i) Page 4 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-3-2" src="pdf-obj-3-2.jpg">

The 2-1 ratio is used when there is no main stroke on the right side, and there are more strokes on the left side than on the right.

Examples:

The 2-1 ratio is used when there is no main stroke on the right side, and邻 ​ (lín) ​ (c ǎ i) " id="pdf-obj-3-9" src="pdf-obj-3-9.jpg">

(lín)

The 2-1 ratio is used when there is no main stroke on the right side, and邻 ​ (lín) ​ (c ǎ i) " id="pdf-obj-3-15" src="pdf-obj-3-15.jpg">

(cǎi)

<a href=创 ​ (chuàng) 1.2 High – Low change rule 右偏旁上高下低 : Right-hand side high top and low bottom When there is a vertical stroke ( 丨亅 …) in the right-hand side radical, or when the left side is smaller than the right side. Examples: Page 5 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-4-2" src="pdf-obj-4-2.jpg">
<a href=创 ​ (chuàng) 1.2 High – Low change rule 右偏旁上高下低 : Right-hand side high top and low bottom When there is a vertical stroke ( 丨亅 …) in the right-hand side radical, or when the left side is smaller than the right side. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-4-5" src="pdf-obj-4-5.jpg">

(chuàng)

1.2 High – Low change rule

右偏旁上高下低: Right-hand side high top and low bottom

When there is a vertical stroke (丨亅 …) in the right-hand side radical, or when the left side is smaller than the right side.

Examples:

<a href=伟 ​ (w ě i) ​ (chí) Page 6 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-5-2" src="pdf-obj-5-2.jpg">
<a href=伟 ​ (w ě i) ​ (chí) " id="pdf-obj-5-5" src="pdf-obj-5-5.jpg">

(wěi)

<a href=伟 ​ (w ě i) ​ (chí) " id="pdf-obj-5-13" src="pdf-obj-5-13.jpg">

(chí)

<a href=请 ​ (q ǐ ng) 右偏旁上低下高 : Right-hand side low top and high bottom When there is horizontal stroke ( 一 …), or when the left side is bigger than the right side Page 7 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-6-2" src="pdf-obj-6-2.jpg">
<a href=请 ​ (q ǐ ng) 右偏旁上低下高 : Right-hand side low top and high bottom When there is horizontal stroke ( 一 …), or when the left side is bigger than the right side " id="pdf-obj-6-5" src="pdf-obj-6-5.jpg">

(qǐng)

右偏旁上低下高: Right-hand side low top and high bottom

When there is horizontal stroke ( …), or when the left side is bigger than the right side

<a href=请 ​ (q ǐ ng) 右偏旁上低下高 : Right-hand side low top and high bottom When there is horizontal stroke ( 一 …), or when the left side is bigger than the right side " id="pdf-obj-6-21" src="pdf-obj-6-21.jpg">
<a href=仁 ​ (rén) ​ (yáng) ​ (ji ā ng) 右偏旁上高下高 : Right-hand side high top and high bottom Page 8 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-7-2" src="pdf-obj-7-2.jpg">

(rén)

<a href=仁 ​ (rén) ​ (yáng) ​ (ji ā ng) 右偏旁上高下高 : Right-hand side high top and high bottom " id="pdf-obj-7-9" src="pdf-obj-7-9.jpg">

(yáng)

<a href=仁 ​ (rén) ​ (yáng) ​ (ji ā ng) 右偏旁上高下高 : Right-hand side high top and high bottom " id="pdf-obj-7-15" src="pdf-obj-7-15.jpg">

(jiāng)

右偏旁上高下高: Right-hand side high top and high bottom

When there is vertical stroke ( 丨丿 …) in the top-right side, and a horizontal stroke社 ​ (shè) ​ (ràng) Page 9 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-8-2" src="pdf-obj-8-2.jpg">

When there is vertical stroke (丨丿…) in the top-right side, and a horizontal stroke () in the bottom of the right side.

Examples:

When there is vertical stroke ( 丨丿 …) in the top-right side, and a horizontal stroke社 ​ (shè) ​ (ràng) " id="pdf-obj-8-13" src="pdf-obj-8-13.jpg">

(shè)

When there is vertical stroke ( 丨丿 …) in the top-right side, and a horizontal stroke社 ​ (shè) ​ (ràng) " id="pdf-obj-8-19" src="pdf-obj-8-19.jpg">

(ràng)

<a href=化 ​ (huà) 右偏旁上低下低 : Right-hand side low top and low bottom When there is a horizontal stroke ( 一 ) in the top-right side, and a vertical stroke ( 丨亅 …) in the bottom right side. Examples: Page 10 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-9-2" src="pdf-obj-9-2.jpg">
<a href=化 ​ (huà) 右偏旁上低下低 : Right-hand side low top and low bottom When there is a horizontal stroke ( 一 ) in the top-right side, and a vertical stroke ( 丨亅 …) in the bottom right side. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-9-5" src="pdf-obj-9-5.jpg">

(huà)

右偏旁上低下低: Right-hand side low top and low bottom

When there is a horizontal stroke ( ) in the top-right side, and a vertical stroke (丨亅…) in the bottom right side.

Examples:

<a href=行 ​ (xíng) ​ (d ē ng) Page 11 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-10-2" src="pdf-obj-10-2.jpg">
<a href=行 ​ (xíng) ​ (d ē ng) " id="pdf-obj-10-5" src="pdf-obj-10-5.jpg">

(xíng)

<a href=行 ​ (xíng) ​ (d ē ng) " id="pdf-obj-10-11" src="pdf-obj-10-11.jpg">

(dēng)

<a href=杆 ​ (g ǎ n) 2. Left – Center – Right 2.1 Left – Center – Right Proportion When there is a main horizontal stroke in the right radical, the proportion is 1:1:2. Examples: Page 12 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-11-2" src="pdf-obj-11-2.jpg">
<a href=杆 ​ (g ǎ n) 2. Left – Center – Right 2.1 Left – Center – Right Proportion When there is a main horizontal stroke in the right radical, the proportion is 1:1:2. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-11-5" src="pdf-obj-11-5.jpg">

(gǎn)

2. Left – Center – Right

2.1 Left – Center – Right Proportion

When there is a main horizontal stroke in the right radical, the proportion is

1:1:2.

Examples:

<a href=谢 ​ (xiè) ​ (hú) Page 13 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-12-2" src="pdf-obj-12-2.jpg">
<a href=谢 ​ (xiè) ​ (hú) " id="pdf-obj-12-5" src="pdf-obj-12-5.jpg">

(xiè)

<a href=谢 ​ (xiè) ​ (hú) " id="pdf-obj-12-11" src="pdf-obj-12-11.jpg">

(hú)

<a href=做 ​ (zuò) When there is a main vertical stroke in the right radical, the proportion is 1:1:1. Examples: Page 14 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-13-2" src="pdf-obj-13-2.jpg">
<a href=做 ​ (zuò) When there is a main vertical stroke in the right radical, the proportion is 1:1:1. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-13-5" src="pdf-obj-13-5.jpg">

(zuò)

When there is a main vertical stroke in the right radical, the proportion is 1:1:1.

Examples:

<a href=做 ​ (zuò) When there is a main vertical stroke in the right radical, the proportion is 1:1:1. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-13-15" src="pdf-obj-13-15.jpg">
<a href=例 ​ (lì) ​ (ji ǎ o) ​ (n ǎ ) 2.2 High – Low change rule Page 15 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-14-2" src="pdf-obj-14-2.jpg">

(lì)

<a href=例 ​ (lì) ​ (ji ǎ o) ​ (n ǎ ) 2.2 High – Low change rule " id="pdf-obj-14-9" src="pdf-obj-14-9.jpg">

(jiǎo)

<a href=例 ​ (lì) ​ (ji ǎ o) ​ (n ǎ ) 2.2 High – Low change rule " id="pdf-obj-14-17" src="pdf-obj-14-17.jpg">

(nǎ)

2.2 High – Low change rule

1) Low – High – Low When there is vertical stroke in the center part of微 ​ (w ē i) ​ (hú) Page 16 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-15-2" src="pdf-obj-15-2.jpg">

1) Low – High – Low

When there is vertical stroke in the center part of the character.

Examples:

1) Low – High – Low When there is vertical stroke in the center part of微 ​ (w ē i) ​ (hú) " id="pdf-obj-15-11" src="pdf-obj-15-11.jpg">

(wēi)

1) Low – High – Low When there is vertical stroke in the center part of微 ​ (w ē i) ​ (hú) " id="pdf-obj-15-19" src="pdf-obj-15-19.jpg">

(hú)

<a href=渐 ​ (jiàn) 2) High – Low – High When there is horizontal stroke in the center part. Examples: Page 17 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-16-2" src="pdf-obj-16-2.jpg">
<a href=渐 ​ (jiàn) 2) High – Low – High When there is horizontal stroke in the center part. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-16-5" src="pdf-obj-16-5.jpg">

(jiàn)

2) High – Low – High

When there is horizontal stroke in the center part.

Examples:

<a href=测 ​ (cè) ​ (lì) Page 18 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-17-2" src="pdf-obj-17-2.jpg">
<a href=测 ​ (cè) ​ (lì) " id="pdf-obj-17-5" src="pdf-obj-17-5.jpg">

(cè)

<a href=测 ​ (cè) ​ (lì) " id="pdf-obj-17-11" src="pdf-obj-17-11.jpg">

(lì)

<a href=树 ​ (shù) 3) High – High – Low When there is radical 阝卩 on the right side. Examples: Page 19 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-18-2" src="pdf-obj-18-2.jpg">
<a href=树 ​ (shù) 3) High – High – Low When there is radical 阝卩 on the right side. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-18-5" src="pdf-obj-18-5.jpg">

(shù)

3) High – High – Low

When there is radical 阝卩 on the right side.

Examples:

<a href=椰 ​ (y ē ) ​ (y ǎ ng) Page 20 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-19-2" src="pdf-obj-19-2.jpg">
<a href=椰 ​ (y ē ) ​ (y ǎ ng) " id="pdf-obj-19-5" src="pdf-obj-19-5.jpg">

(yē)

<a href=椰 ​ (y ē ) ​ (y ǎ ng) " id="pdf-obj-19-13" src="pdf-obj-19-13.jpg">

(yǎng)

<a href=挪 ​ (nuó) 3. Top – Bottom & Top – Middle – Bottom 3.1 Diamond Shape If there is a horizontal stroke ( 一 , 乛 , 人 ) in the middle, the character shape will be a diamond ◇ . Examples: Page 21 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-20-2" src="pdf-obj-20-2.jpg">
<a href=挪 ​ (nuó) 3. Top – Bottom & Top – Middle – Bottom 3.1 Diamond Shape If there is a horizontal stroke ( 一 , 乛 , 人 ) in the middle, the character shape will be a diamond ◇ . Examples: " id="pdf-obj-20-5" src="pdf-obj-20-5.jpg">

(nuó)

3. Top – Bottom & Top – Middle – Bottom

3.1 Diamond Shape

If there is a horizontal stroke ( , , ) in the middle, the character shape will be a diamond .

Examples:

<a href=茶 ​ (chá) ​ (láo) Page 22 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-21-2" src="pdf-obj-21-2.jpg">
<a href=茶 ​ (chá) ​ (láo) " id="pdf-obj-21-5" src="pdf-obj-21-5.jpg">

(chá)

<a href=茶 ​ (chá) ​ (láo) " id="pdf-obj-21-11" src="pdf-obj-21-11.jpg">

(láo)

<a href=安 ​ ( ā n) 3.2 Inverted Trapezoid Shape If there is a horizontal stroke ( 一 , 乛 ) in the top, and there is no radical with 乀 乚 on the bottom, the character shape will be inverted trapezoid. Examples: Page 23 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-22-2" src="pdf-obj-22-2.jpg">
<a href=安 ​ ( ā n) 3.2 Inverted Trapezoid Shape If there is a horizontal stroke ( 一 , 乛 ) in the top, and there is no radical with 乀 乚 on the bottom, the character shape will be inverted trapezoid. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-22-5" src="pdf-obj-22-5.jpg">

(ān)

3.2 Inverted Trapezoid Shape

If there is a horizontal stroke ( , ) in the top, and there is no radical with 乀 乚 on the bottom, the character shape will be inverted trapezoid.

Examples:

<a href=宝 ​ (b ǎ o) ​ (x ū ) Page 24 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-23-2" src="pdf-obj-23-2.jpg">
<a href=宝 ​ (b ǎ o) ​ (x ū ) " id="pdf-obj-23-5" src="pdf-obj-23-5.jpg">

(bǎo)

<a href=宝 ​ (b ǎ o) ​ (x ū ) " id="pdf-obj-23-13" src="pdf-obj-23-13.jpg">

(xū)

<a href=学 ​ (xué) 3.3 Trapezoid Shape If there is 乀 乚心 儿 衣 夂 灬 on the bottom, the character shape will be a trapezoid. Examples: Page 25 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-24-2" src="pdf-obj-24-2.jpg">
<a href=学 ​ (xué) 3.3 Trapezoid Shape If there is 乀 乚心 儿 衣 夂 灬 on the bottom, the character shape will be a trapezoid. Examples: " id="pdf-obj-24-5" src="pdf-obj-24-5.jpg">

(xué)

3.3 Trapezoid Shape

If there is 乀 乚心 儿 衣 夂 灬 on the bottom, the character shape will be a trapezoid.

Examples:

<a href=思 ​ (s ī ) ​ (liè) Page 26 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-25-2" src="pdf-obj-25-2.jpg">
<a href=思 ​ (s ī ) ​ (liè) " id="pdf-obj-25-5" src="pdf-obj-25-5.jpg">

(sī)

<a href=思 ​ (s ī ) ​ (liè) " id="pdf-obj-25-13" src="pdf-obj-25-13.jpg">

(liè)

<a href=克 ​ (kè) ​ (zh ō ng) Page 27 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-26-2" src="pdf-obj-26-2.jpg">
<a href=克 ​ (kè) ​ (zh ō ng) " id="pdf-obj-26-5" src="pdf-obj-26-5.jpg">

(kè)

<a href=克 ​ (kè) ​ (zh ō ng) " id="pdf-obj-26-11" src="pdf-obj-26-11.jpg">

(zhōng)

<a href=夏 ​ (xià) Page 28 of 28 Find more Chinese Learning on http://www.writtenchinese.com " id="pdf-obj-27-2" src="pdf-obj-27-2.jpg">
<a href=夏 ​ (xià) " id="pdf-obj-27-5" src="pdf-obj-27-5.jpg">

(xià)