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Strokes of Chinese Characters    笔画
Lesson 1
Every Chinese character is made up of a number of strokes, or single movements of the pen or writing brush. The order and direction in which the strokes are made are very important in producing uniform characters, and learning the basic rules of stroke order can also ease the process of learning to write.

In general -- and there are exceptions -- characters are written from left to right and top to bottom, and horizontal strokes before vertical ones. The outsides of enclosed characters are written before the insides, and dots, strokes that cut through a character, minor strokes and bottom enclosing strokes are written last.