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Worth-It Hack to Learning Chinese Characters for Mandarin Beginners!

Jun. 7, 2019

HSK 3 quiz

We love getting questions from our students! And recently, one of our students asked how to learn and remember Chinese characters quickly. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Chinese characters are very profound and interesting, and they are especially helpful while learning Chinese; what’s more, learning Chinese Characters is the best approach to learn how to read, how to pronounce, and how to memorize words. Therefore, I’ll do my best to give you my top tips and techniques for learning characters quickly and effectively.

Here are 3 ways that you can begin learning to write Chinese characters:

Take Your Chinese to the Next Step: Tips on Writing Chinese Characters

#1: Read first and then write.

The component structure of Chinese characters is closely related to its morphological features which are easy to read and recognize, but the writing technique can be very difficult for foreign students if they aren’t taught how.

It’s better to know about the Chinese patterns, understand the meaning, and remember the pronunciation in the early period of learning. Essentially, read first and then write.

A useful Learning tool: (Mandarin flashcards as follows:)
HSK 3 quiz

HSK 3 quiz

Mandarin flashcard is a quite effective teaching tool. For example, I often use it to help students to practice pronunciation and test learning comprehension in Chinese class by using flashcards. One side should have the character while the other side should have pinyin.

#2: Recognize characters through structural combination.

For examples:

人 (Rén) + 从 (Cóng)= 众 (Zhòng)
木 () + 林 (Lín) = 森 (Sēn)
日 () + 昌 (Chāng) = 晶 (Jīng)


众 (Zhòng) multitude; crowd; the masses

森 (Sēn) forest

晶 (Jīng) brilliant; glittering

Chinese characters use radicals.

The structure of each character is made up of several radicals. There are a lot of Chinese characters that share the same radicals. However, they do not just share randomly. Each radical has its own meaning and purpose within a Chinese character.

Some radicals represent the meaning of the word while others represent the sound. By learning radicals you can open a whole new world of character understanding. You can see it in the examples given below.

“人 (Rén)” means person; “从 (cóng)” means “follower; attendant” and combine them to equal “众 (zhòng) multitude; crowd; the masses”. Can you get the pattern?

In the same way:

“木 () wood” plus “林 (lín) woods;” equals “森 (sēn) forest”.

“日 () sun; daytime” plus “昌 (chāng) prosperous; flourishing” equals “晶 (jīng) brilliant; glittering”…

# 3: Recognize characters by comparing characters with a similar form.

In Chinese languages, there are so many similar characters. In this case, I will guide students to point out the differences and then I will sum up the rules and explain the meaning for them.

A quick way to learn Chinese characters is to take a quiz with questions about distinguishing similar characters.

Try the following quiz to learn and remember Chinese characters quickly:
Chinese Quiz Time: What’s the Difference Between 约定 (Yuēdìng), 预约 (Yùyuē), And 预报 (Yùbào)?
What’s the Difference Between “保护 (Bǎohù),” “保持 (Bǎochí),” And “保留(Bǎoliú)”?
“以为 (Yǐwéi)” vs. “认为 (Rènwéi)” – Similar But Different

For example: “晴 (qíng)” and “清 (qīng)”

The shape of the characters is similar, while “偏旁部首 (piānpáng bùshǒu) the radicals” and the meaning of them are totally different.

Learning the Basic Rules of Chinese Stroke Order 


晴 (Qíng) adj. fine; clear

清 (Qīng) adj. unmixed; clear; quiet; distinct

Once you practice these 3 tips you will surely be able to learn Chinese characters more quickly than before. While doing flashcards alone is possible, and it is more practical to remember characters with your teachers. Last, you can download this Chinese input method, which is the best tool for learning Chinese Pinyin and characters.

Don’t forget to send us your questions! We’re always happy to help our students find the most effective and fun ways to learn Chinese. Now take the quiz to learn the differences between these similar characters.

HSK 3 quiz
1. Please read the simple jingle then choose the best option to fill the blanks.

A. 睛 (Jīng)

B. 清 (Qīng)

C. 情 (Qíng)

D. 晴 (Qíng)

    Tàiyáng chūlái tiānqì ______ ,
1. 太阳出来天气 ______ ,
    The sun comes out and the weather is fine,

    Nóngchǎng chítáng shuǐmiàn ______ ,
2. 农场池塘水面 ______ ,
    The pond on the farm is clear,

    Zhēng kāi wǒ de dà yǎn ______ ,
3. 睁开我的大眼 ______ ,
    Open my big eyes,

    Shēn shēn lǎn yāo zuò shì ______ .
4. 伸伸懒腰做事 ______ .
    Stretch and start to do something.

See Answer Analysis

General Chinese (Beginner Level) 

General Chinese (Intermediate Level) 

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