100 Most Common Chinese Characters

100 Most Common Chinese Characters

There are various lists for the most common Chinese characters out there, making learning Chinese all that more difficult.

It’s hard to categorize the top 100 common Chinese characters when there are thousands to choose from. Tens of thousands, in fact.

Most Common Chinese Characters

Do I need to know all the Chinese characters?

No! You don’t need to know them all.

Learning a set of characters and breaking them down really helps to get the hang of learning Chinese characters.

Learn your first 10, then 50, then 100… 1000… Once you’ve hit more than 1000 you’ll be able to speak pretty fluently.

Get to 3000 and this is generally deemed the amount that most learners need to be able to read most things.

JUST FOR YOU – Keep reading and we’ve got a great freebie for you at the end!

What is the Chinese Alphabet – Does it Exist? A Definitive Guide

Chinese characters are made up of one, two, or several radicals.

They have one of 5 tones and sometimes can have a different tone depending on the context or which character they’re next to. They can even have a completely different pronunciation depending on their meaning, e.g. 行 can either be ‘xing = to go, OK’ or ‘hang = 银行 yinhang, bank’.

Chinese Radicals: An Introduction

But, don’t fret!

The more you learn, the easier it gets – we promise!

You will begin to see patterns within the characters, recognize the same ones that come up frequently and that join together to form a word, and to recognize certain radicals in order to decipher the meaning or the pronunciation.

The more you practice typing or writing Chinese characters, the easier you will learn.

To start you on your journey, we’ve put together 100 of some of the most common Chinese characters there are.

Most Common Chinese Characters: 1-10

Most Common Chinese Characters: 11-20

Most Common Chinese Characters: 21-30

Most Common Chinese Characters: 31-40

Most Common Chinese Characters: 41-50

Most Common Chinese Characters: 51-60

Most Common Chinese Characters: 61-70

Most Common Chinese Characters: 71-80

Most Common Chinese Characters: 81-90

Most Common Chinese Characters 91-100

most common chinese characters

第一 means: the first

Most Common Chinese Characters: 1-10

de
grammatical particle marking possession
one
shì
to be
not, negative
le
verb particle marking past tense, completed action, change in condition.
rén
person
I
zài
at, located at
yǒu
have, there is
he

Most Common Chinese Characters: 11-20

zhè
this
zhōng
middle
big
lái
come
shàng
above, on, over/last, previous
guó
country
general quantifier
dào
to, towards, until, arrive
shuō
speak, say
men
pluralize nouns referring to people

Most Common Chinese Characters: 21-30

wèi
in order to, for the purpose of…
child
together, with
you
earth, ground, place
chū
go out, come out
dào
way, path, way
also, as well
shí
time period, season
nián
year

Most Common Chinese Characters: 31-40

de
to have to / adverbial particle
jiù
just, simply, right away
that
yào
want, will do, need, important
xià
below, under, down / next
because of, in order to / according to
shēng
give birth, life
huì
can, able, meet, party, society
from, self
zhe
verb particle marking a progressive aspect (e.g. -ing)

Most Common Chinese Characters: 41-50

go, leave, depart
zhī
subordinator, go, leave for
guò
pass, cross, exceed
jiā
home, family
xué
study, learn
duì
correct, mutual, pair
~able, may, can
she
neighborhood, half kilometer
hòu
queen

Most Common Chinese Characters: 51-60

xiǎo
small
me/mo
interrogative suffix
xīn
heart
duō
many, much, more
tiān
sky, heaven, god, day
ér
and, furthermore
néng
can, be able
hǎo
good
dōu
all
rán
correct, so, like that

Most Common Chinese Characters: 61-70

méi
haven’t, there isn’t, no
sun
in, at, for, to, from, by, than
rise, start
hái
still, yet
deliver, develop, expand
chéng
accomplish, succeed / to become
shì
matter, thing, event, accident
zhǐ
only, just
zuò
do, make

Most Common Chinese Characters: 71-80

dāng
serve as, act as
xiǎng
think, feel, want
kàn
see, look at
wén
language, literature
without, have not
kāi
open
shǒu
hand
shí
ten
yòng
use
zhǔ
lord, master, live

Most Common Chinese Characters: 81-90

xíng
go, OK
fāng
side
yòu
again, both… and…
like, as, as if
qián
in front, previous, first, former
suǒ
place
běn
basis, origin, edition
jiàn
appear to be, meet with
jīng
longitude
tóu
head, top, first

10. Most Common Chinese Characters: 91-100

miàn
face, surface
gōng
public, official
tóng
same
sān
three
stop, end
lǎo
old
cóng
from, through
dòng
move
liǎng
two
cháng
long, length
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