Why do Chinese characters look this way?

Eighty percent of Chinese characters are made up of building blocks that convey the meaning and pronunciation of the word being represented. One component, usually on the left side, conveys the meaning. Another component, usually on the right, hints at the pronunciation.

Here are five components and a few characters they're used in. more details

Mù means
"eye"

Hŭo means
"fire"

hŭo

Dāo means "knife"

dāo

广

Guăng means "shelter"

guăng

Hé means
"crops"

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"shuì" means "to fall asleep." picture of a speaker icon

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"dīng" means "to gaze at." speaker icon