Choosing a Chinese Name by Number of Strokes

woman writing Chinese characters
Keren Su/China Span/Getty Images

The art of choosing a Chinese name takes several things into consideration, such as the meanings of the characters, the elements they represent, and the number of strokes. When all of these factors are combined in a harmonious fashion, the result is an auspicious name that will bring good fortune to the bearer.

Chinese characters are defined as either Yin or Yang depending on their number of strokes. Strokes are the individual pen movements that are required to draw a character.

For example, the character 人 (person) has two strokes, and the character 天 (heaven) has four strokes.

Characters which have an even number of strokes are considered Yin, and characters with an odd number of strokes are Yang.

The Chinese Name - Zhong Ge

A Chinese name usually has three characters – the family name (a single character) and the given name (two characters). The family name is called tiān gé (天格) and the given name is called dì gé (地格). There is also the rén gé (人格) which is the family name and the first character of the given name. The name in total is called the zhōng gé (忠格).

The total number of strokes of the zhōng gé should equal 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21, 23, 25, 29, 31, 32, 33, 37, 39, 45, 47, 48, 52, 63, 65, 67, 68, 73, or 81.

In addition to the number of strokes, the Chinese name must be balanced in terms of Yin and Yang. The characters of the name should match one of these patterns:

Yang Yang Yin
Yin Yin Yang
Yang Yin Yin
Yin Yang Yang

When considering whether the family name (tiān gé) is Yin or Yang, the number of strokes is always increased by one.

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Su, Qiu Gui. "Choosing a Chinese Name by Number of Strokes." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Su, Qiu Gui. (2023, April 5). Choosing a Chinese Name by Number of Strokes. Retrieved from Su, Qiu Gui. "Choosing a Chinese Name by Number of Strokes." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).