HSK 1: 8-15

Here is the second set of characters from the HSK 1 list:

8. 中 (zhōng): center; china (as in the middle kingdom); middle [It has an alternate pronunciation “zhòng” that means hit.]

9. 国 (gúo): country; national [As in 中国- middle kingdom i.e. China.]

10. 大 (dà): big; great; important; strong; loud heavy [It’s obviously greatly flexible because it’s a kind of adjective that makes the noun “bigger”, where in English we have separate adjectives.]

11. 年 (nían): year; age; era

12. 上 (shàng): upper; higher; go; go to; serve; fix; apply [It has a variety of meanings, I remember it especially for attending (上) class].

13. 这 (zhè): this

14. 个 (ge): (“default” measure word) [For people]; (noun) size; (adjective) individual [Measure words are really important in Chinese, but they take some time to get used to. As my professor used to say, “Better use the default measure word than no measure word at all”.]

15. 我 (wǒ): I; me; self

Some tips on writing 这 and 我:

For 这, the most important stroke is the long nà stroke at the bottom. The horizontal strokes are parallel with each other and the left dot is a bit lower than the right dot. Here is an excerpt of the book that I wrote about.

Björkstén, Johan. "Learn to Write Chinese Characters" Yale University Press: 1994. Pg. 72

Björkstén, Johan. “Learn to Write Chinese Characters” Yale University Press: 1994. Pg. 72

Like he says, it’s a hard stroke, especially the second stroke, which should be softly curved. I’ve found that’s the hardest part for me, keeping that soft curve (so please follow the official writing and not mine).

For 我, the horizontal stroke and the right gōu stroke (right hook) are the most important. Notice the horizontal stroke is slightly tilted upwards and the right hook comes almost from the top. You want to get this character right because you’re going to write it quite a bit and after a while you want to just be able to write it in script and not 7 separate strokes. It’s actually one of those first characters that will easily flow into script when you write it fast.

Look, here is a hand-written note with 我 and 的, can you find the two “我”s and the “的”?

我想你的时候 你会不会也刚好正在想我...

Hover over image to see Chinese text.

Since we now have more characters we can write more and longer phrases. I’ve included a sheet of some of those phrases. Remember to practice, about 100 times per character and more for characters that give you trouble. Also, practice just writing them from memory and not with a reference, you can cover the previously written ones.





3 responses to “HSK 1: 8-15

  1. Hi, thank you for all the work you put into this blog, it is very helpful for beginners like me! Could you also translate the short phrases from the second character drills sheet?

    • Thanks 🙂 It’s nice to know it’s helpful.


      中国人 (zhōng guó rén): Chinese Person
      我不是的 (wǒ bú shì de): I’m not…[adjective]
      这个有 (zhè ge yǒu): This has…
      在一个人 (zài yī ge rén): [To be] alone

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