Given that Chinese characters don't need to have any spacing between them (from here), in that they don't need whitespace between words, or even between paragraphs or chapters, then you could just have basically a grid of Chinese characters extending hundreds of pages without any spacing.

The only issue with this is it makes it a bit more difficult to read the writing; you have to do some of the context analysis mentally in your head to basically tease apart the words and paragraphs. So these spacing structures like word spacing and paragraphs help with mentally understanding the logical flow and meaning of the text.

Not knowing much about Chinese writing, I'm wondering what best practices are currently for writing in Chinese, and if anyone uses whitespace between words in Chinese, or uses paragraphs, sections, chapters, etc.. Basically all of the things you'd find in a wiki.

Briefly looking for a Chinese News website, I find this, which has these characters in this format:

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Don't know what it says, but I'm just looking at the syntax. That looks like a list of articles perhaps. So then clicking on one, it looks like this:

enter image description here

Looks like there are paragraphs, and spaces after punctuation (comma, period, question mark), but not spaces between words.

Wondering if anyone these days also writes with spaces between words (maybe there are examples of blogs that do this). Also wondering what is considered "best practice" for readability, related to the spacing.

That is, I would like to know if I were to write Chinese writing with spaces between words, how it would be perceived. Maybe it is only done in children's books, type of thing.


2 Answers 2


No space is needed between characters.

A paragraph would start on a new line, usually with an indentation of two characters.

Space after punctuation is not required. The space you see is because the font tries to make punctuation to have the same width as a Chinese character.

In your first picture, the texts are article titles. There, to separate two phrases without using a punctuation, space is used. This usage usually do not appear in main article content.

  • Thank you, wondering still what the thinking is behind putting spaces between words.
    – Lance
    Oct 24, 2018 at 8:23
  • No space would be put between words. I've never seen this style in any kind of books/articles/etc. Books for beginners who are learning Chinese might be different, but I have never read any books of that kind.
    – fefe
    Oct 24, 2018 at 8:32
  • @LancePollard No space is needed. As you pointed out, even no punctuation is needed. Classical Chinese has a special logical system to break the verses, and a well educated man can easily understand the text. Punctuation is used in modern Chinese, but no spaces are placed between words. If you know more about Chinese, you will find in many occasions it's hard to determine whether or not a string of characters is a word. Basically, the element of Chinese is character, not word. Oct 24, 2018 at 8:48

Spacing is usually put between words (or a similar semantic grouping of syllables) when Chinese is written in a Roman script. In general, phonetic scripts are inherently unclear and insufficient to represent Chinese, so other cues for clarity are used as much as possible.

  • Pinyin (Mandarin): huánjìng bǎohù guīhuà (環境保護規劃), environmental protection planning
  • Pe̍h-ōe-jī (Minnan): Thài-khong pêng-iú, lín hó! Lí chia̍h-pá--bē? (太空朋友,你好!你食飽未?), Friends from Space, how are you? Have you eaten yet?

  • Gwoyeu Romatzyh (Mandarin): "Hannshyue" .de mingcheng duey Jonggwo yeou idean butzuenjinq .de yihwey. (漢學的名稱對中國有一點不尊敬的意味。), The term "Sinology" carries a slight overtone of disrespect towards China.

  • Yale Romanisation (Cantonese): Hó-m̀h-hó'yi je go dihnwáh yuhng a? (可唔可以借個電話用呀?), Can I use your phone?

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