It says

enter image description here


If I search for you I got this

It consists of 2 characters

The first is person and you. The 2 characters are very different than the character in character ni. I supposed the ren is in alternate version. I wonder what's the character next to it.

It says there that the character next to it is you.

However, clicking it says it's the character er which means breath.

enter image description here

Of course, the character breath itself consist of 2 characters.

The upper part is ru (enter). And below we have number 8 pa divided by vertical line.

How wrong I am? Please correct me.

Any idea why letter 8 under enter becomes breath that combined with men becomes "you"? Any website that explains this?

2 Answers 2



你 consists of 尔 (a shorthand form of 爾 “you”), and 亻 (person), indicating the original meaning “you.” 尔 also gives the sound.
[Reference, p. 1253]


In 你, 亻“person” is a meaning component, indicating “having to do with people.”

In 你 nǐ, 尔 ěr is both a meaning component and a sound component. It is shorthand for 爾, an ancient character that meant “you” (among other things). The sound connection between 你 nǐ and 尔 ěr is not obvious in modern Mandarin.


On his blog SinoSplice the linguist John Pasden wrote an article about Challenges to Character Understanding where he explains the understanding of character (nǐ).

He showed his source of Outliers Dictionary (add-on to the free app Pleco): Outliers Dictionary on Ni

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