I have installed Chinese character dictionary popup plugin into the browser and it showed for 说 character:

说   說   shuì   to persuade
说   說   shuō   to speak; to say; to explain; to scold; to tell off; a theory (typically the last character in a compound, as in 日心說|日心说 heliocentric theory)

Is this correct? Why does shuì go first?

  • 2
    shuì comes first because it's alphabetically first. For differences in meaning, etc. see this answer chinese.stackexchange.com/a/8848/4136
    – Mou某
    May 23 '18 at 6:51
  • Actually there's no different between these two pronounciation at all. Text or dictionary books may tell you the difference, but most native speakers don't care(Noticing that, at least for standard Mandarin, there isn't any official standard for such prounciation details, only dictionaries and native speakers' feelings).
    – user19549
    May 24 '18 at 5:35
  • ordered by pronunciation, shui < shuo when program sorts 2 strings. May 31 '18 at 1:23

Yes, it's correct. shui4 说客 说士 lobbyist 说服 persuade 说导 enlighten etc. However considering that many people today mix them up In pronunciation, 说 is supposed to be pronouned as shuo1 In both meanings, according to the latest edition of 《现代汉语词典》, with many other pronunciation adjustments as well. The whole thing is controversial. Highly educated people refuse to succumb to the mispronunciation, though so prevalent nowadays.


The order means nothing. Here is a simple guide:

When 说 in 说服, 说客, 游说, use shuì. shuō for every case else.

A more simple rule, only use shuì when 游说, 说shuō服, 说shuō客 is acceptable.

  • 说shuō服 is acceptable. 说shuō客 is not, it must be shuì.
    – NS.X.
    May 23 '18 at 7:36
  • No, there are also many people say 说shuō客, thought it may sounds
    – wolfrevo
    May 23 '18 at 9:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.