On the Subject of Chinese Strokes

Not that kind of stroke.

This module contains three displays, a plus and minus button, and a submit button (提交).

The main display on the top left shows a Chinese character, the top right display indicates the current stage you’re on, while the bottom left display indicates the current input.

Press the - and + to decrease and increase the number in the bottom left display respectively.

Press the submit button to submit your answer.

Submit the correct number of strokes that is shown on the display to solve the module.

This module has four stages, with increasing difficulty.

Refer to Appendix: Chinese Strokes to obtain information about Chinese Strokes.

NOTE: You can press the input display to reset the module, in case the character fails to show. You can only do this once.

Appendix: Chinese Strokes

CJK strokes are the calligraphic strokes needed to write the Chinese characters in regular script used in East Asian calligraphy. CJK strokes are the classified set of line patterns that may be arranged and combined to form Chinese characters (also known as Hanzi) in use in China, Japan, and Korea.


All strokes have direction. They are unidirectional and start from one entry point. People should not write them in the reverse direction. Here are some examples:


A basic stroke is a single calligraphic mark moving in one direction across a writing surface. The following table lists a selection of basic strokes divided into two stroke groups: simple and combining. "Simple strokes" (such as Horizontal / Héng and Dot / Diǎn) can be written alone. "Combining strokes" (such as Zig / Zhé and J hook / Gōu) never occur alone, but must be paired with at least one other stroke forming a compound stroke. Thus, they are not in themselves individual strokes.

Table of basic strokes

English Name Name in PRC CJK stroke Meaning of Chinese name Additional description
Dot Diǎn, 点 "Dot" Tiny dash, speck.
Horizontal Héng, 横 "Horizontal" Rightward stroke.
Vertical Shù, 竖 "Vertical" Downward stroke.
Upward horizontal Tí, 提 "Rise" Flick up and rightwards.
Press Nà, 捺 "Press down" Falling rightwards (fattening at the bottom).
Throw Piě, 撇 "Throw away" Falling leftwards (with slight curve).
Zag Zhé, 折 "Break" Indicates change in stroke direction, usually 90° turn, going down or going right only.
J hook Gōu, 钩 "Hook" Appended to other strokes, suddenly going down or going left only.
Clockwise curve Wān, 弯 "Bend" A tapering thinning curve, usually concave left (convex outward right).
Anticlockwise curve Xié, 斜 "Slant" Curved line, usually concave right (convex outward left).
Note, the basic stroke Diǎn "Dot" is rarely a real dot. Instead it usually takes the shape of a very small line pointing in one of several directions, and may be long enough to be confused with other strokes.

Compound strokes

A compound stroke (also called a complex stroke) is produced when two or more basic strokes are combined in a single stroke written without lifting the writing instrument from the writing surface. The character 永 (pinyin: yǒng) "eternity" described in more detail below demonstrates one of these compound strokes. The centre line is a compound stroke that combines three stroke shapes in a single stroke.

Basic for making compound strokes

In most cases, concatenating basic strokes together form a compound stroke. For example, Vertical / Shù combined with J hook / Gōu produce (Vertical – J hook / Shù Gōu). A stroke naming convention sums the names of the basic strokes, in the writing order.

An exception to this applies when a stroke makes a turn of 90° (and only of 90°) in the Simplified Chinese names. Horizontal (Héng) and Vertical (Shù) strokes are identified only once when they appear as the first stroke of a compound; any single stroke with successive 90° turns down or to the right are indicated by a Zag 折 (pinyin: Zhé) "Break". For example, an initial Shù followed by an abrupt turn right produces (Shù Zhé). In the same way, an initial Shù followed by an abrupt turn right followed by a second turn down produces (Shù Zhé Zhé). However, their inherited names are "Vertical – Horizontal" and "Vertical – Horizontal – Vertical". We need not to use "Zag" in the inherited names.

Nearly all complex strokes can be named using this simple scheme.