At the initial stage of the Chinese language learning it is very important to learn the basic Chinese radicals – approximately 80 – 90 of them. These basic radicals are often repeated in different combination in the Chinese characters. When you see a Chinese character just keep in mind that you see a combination of the simple Chinese radicals.

Once you know reading, tones and meanings of each radical, you will easily memorize any of the Chinese characters and write them easily and joyfully! See how simple the decomposition of the Chinese character 怎 zěn ‘how’, pay attention to the repeated radicals.

Decomposition example of the character 怎 zěn ‘how’

怎 zěn how

乍  zhà first

丿  piě slash

一  yī one

丨  gǔn line

二  èr two

心  xīn heart

丿  piě slash

乚  yǐ second

丶  zhǔ dot

丶  zhǔ dot


乍丿一丨二 心丿乚丶丶

Synonyms: Structural analysis of the Chinese characters, Breakdown of the Chinese characters.

More information and guidelines about decomposition you can find in each Chinese textbook by Polina Shinkina on

and in the The Chinese Character Decomposition Guidance