Tag Archives: hanzi

Horizontal Hanzi: Learning to differentiate similar Chinese characters

During my own life-long quest to learn Chinese I spend a lot of time reading. Sometimes I’ll come across a character that I think I already know but is actually a different character that looks very similar.

The earliest example I can remember of this was thinking that “第” was the same as “弟” (having previously learnt the word “弟弟”). How embarrassing that I thought “弟” was used for cardinal numbers! Since both characters are pronounced the same way, it took me quite a while to realise my mistake.

Later I read Olle Linge’s Hacking Chinese article: Horizontal vocabulary learning, which I thought was genius. That blog post inspired me to create a web site dedicated to helping people learn to differentiate hanzi characters that look very similar. Finally, here it is!


At the moment the site is only an MVP but it’s usable! If you’re keen to help out you can suggest some similar-looking characters. See the about page for where to send feedback.