Skip main navigation

How do we write when a syllable starting with i u and ü?

How do we write when a syllable starting with i u and ü?
© Shanghai International Studies University

When a syllable starting with i u and ü, we should add a initial Y or W for them when we write. Rules as follows.

  • When a syllable consists of i in ing only, y must be added in front of i.
    i — yi
    in—yin
    ing—ying
  • When a syllable consists of ia ie iao ian iang iong only, the final i should be replaced by y.
    ia—ya
    ie—ye
    iao—yao
  • When ü is located at the beginning of a syllable, y must be added in front of ü and the two dots on ü must be removed.
    ü —yu
  • When a syllable consists of “u” only, “w” must be added in front of “u”.
    u—wu
  • When u is located at the beginning of a syllable that carries more than one vowel, ”u”must be replaced by w.
    uo—wo
    uang—wang

Tips for reading: when you see “W”, you read “u”, when you see “Y” before “u”, you read them together as “ü”. When you see “Y” before other finals, you read it as “i”.

© Shanghai International Studies University
This article is from the free online

Learn Chinese: Introduction to Chinese Pronunciation and Tone

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education