little BIG Differences with Chinese Characters

In Chinese by Gwilym James

In this Skritter deck, we’ll explore characters that look very similar but differ by just an extra stroke or two, which changes the meaning entirely. There are 8 sections, each categorized by the calligraphy stroke type. Within each section, you will see 2-3 characters in a row that differ in subtle ways.

If you want to learn more about calligraphy brush strokes, check out the video deck “Chinese Stroke Names” and “Chinese Stroke Order”. This deck is designed to challenge your recognition of Chinese characters, and highlights how using mnemonics might help differentiate between similar looking characters.

Similar characters that contain a single stroke difference

wang2, wang4king; (common surname) (Kangxi radical 96, variant)
yu4jade (Kangxi radical 96)
zhu3owner; host; master
da4, dai4big; large; great (Kangxi radical 37)
tai4too (much); excessively; highest; greatest
quan3dog (Kangxi radical 94)
mian3exempt; remove; avoid
tu4rabbit; hare; bunny
wan2ball; pill; pellet
jin1now; at present; today; modern
ling4, ling3make or cause to be; to order; command;(mw: ream of paper)
wei4not yet; did not; have not (8th Earthly Branch)
zhu1vermilion; cinnabar; surname Zhu
shi2ten (Kangxi radical 24)
you4(once) again; also; both (Kangxi radical 29)
cha1, cha3, cha4fork; intersection;part to form a fork;(劈~) do the splits
dao1knife; blade (Kangxi radical 18)
ren4blade; knife edge

Similar characters that contain TWO strokes that are different

mu4tree; wood (Kangxi radical 75)
mi3(husked) rice; meter (Kangxi radical 119)
zhi2straight; vertical; frank; directly; continuously
zhen1real; true; genuine
xiong1elder brother
dui4exchange; to convert; to add (liquid); to blend
ping2flat; level; equal; ordinary
shu4to tie; to bind; restrain; (mw for bunches, bundles, bouquets, etc.)
jian3card; letter; select
Study them all on Skritter.
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