# Stroke order of 力 vs 九

I'm curious as to why the stroke order of `力` is different to the stroke order of `九`.

One page I found (`力` and `九` stroke order) theorises that the reason is because `力` has "touching" strokes and there is a hook that "points" to the second stroke, so it could not itself be the second stroke.

This seems to be a decent theory, though I'd like to know if anybody has a concrete source proving (or disproving) this rule. It does note that it only applies for cases where the strokes touch, so it does not count in cases like `刂`.

Any insights?

• The idea of the stroke order is to make the character you write be more structural thus beautiful. The first stroke will always be the initial guidance of the whole character, so in this case which stroke is first depends on whether this stroke can make your character's major structure be certain. In this case, 力's right portion is more certain, whereas 九 which can be considered as left-right structure, should be written as 人，八，大 etc. Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 1:05
• 九 is more of a unique one. I've always written 九 the other way around though. Would say that it is an exceptional case. Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 5:46
• I'm going to have to guess but I think the brush stroke order (笔画顺序) has to do with "cursive writing" (草书). The general rule is horizontal before vertical but when writing in cursive the flow of writing is better the other way around for some characters. 九 flows better with vertical first and slipping into the horizontal. Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 12:44

1.只有横折钩类与撇相遇：先写横折钩，例刀、力、万 、方、乃、杨。

2.其他横折类与撇相遇：都先写撇，例如及（横折折撇 ），几（横折弯），九（横斜钩）、匕（竖折弯）。

translate into English:

1.Only when uppermost and rightmost lines with a left hook cross with right-to-left diagonals(ノ): uppermost and rightmost lines with a left hook is written first. For example: "刀", "力", "万", "方", "乃", "杨".

2.In other situation uppermost and rightmost lines cross with right-to-left diagonals(ノ): right-to-left diagonals is written first. For example: "及", "几", "九", "匕".

3.现代汉语通用字笔顺规范;

5."火"的笔顺.

Besides, the website 汉典 is perhaps useful to you.

• +1. I don't know why this answer is voted down. `现代汉语通用字笔顺规范(official version)` should be considered as the most authoritative source in mainland China. If there's anything wrong in the answer, could the down-voter explain what it is? Thanks.
– Stan
Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 6:20
• Thanks, this is exactly the kind of answer I was looking for!
– Ming
Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 6:24
• @Stan I didn't downvote, but being official doesn't equal to correctness. I can easily find wrong orders that are unacceptable in calligraphy from 现代汉语通用字笔顺规范. But in another perspective, offical source is always correct due to the authoritativeness. Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 10:26
• @agriprop, can you point out what are the unacceptables ? Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 0:53
• @tomriddle_1234 I studied calligraphy since 4 years old, and knew that the official reference was wrong ever since. I've even had countless arguments with teachers, who told me to follow the textbook. For your reference: bbs.tianya.cn/post-454-12035-1.shtml zhihu.com/question/22652195. Someone might argue that stroke orders in calligraphy don't matter in real life, but it does matter, because that's how the characters are supposed to be written. Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 6:49