Use this tool to add tone marks to pinyin or to convert tone number (e.g. hao3) to tone marks.

Although you can use the red buttons to add tone marks, we highly recommend you use the number method (e.g. hao3) for speed and placement of the accent above the correct vowel. [Hint: Type "v" for "ü"]
Note: You do not need to use this tool to enter pinyin in this dictionary.

Chinese Tone Trainer

Written Chinese > Chinese Tone Trainer

Tap the speaker button below to start practicing your Mandarin tones!

Do you really need to learn the Chinese tones?

You may have heard it from other Chinese learners that it’s not really necessary to worry about the tones when speaking Chinese, but we haven’t met one successful case to prove that this is true. In China, you can find a lot of foreigners scraping by without paying attention to the tones, but their speaking is crude, extremely basic, and filled with frustration as they repeat themselves over and over trying to make the listener understand.

Admittedly, if you speak an entire phrase very rapidly at once, sometimes the speaker can understand you. But that’s as far as you’ll go, ever. Though it might seem like a tricky task in the beginning to learn and remember the tones, you will never be able to smoothly communicate with a Chinese speaker unless you learn them!

So if you’re having trouble deciphering ma3 meaning “horse” from ma4 meaning “to scold”, we’ve created a free tone trainer that can help.

Tone Trainer by WCC Instructions

Step 1: Make sure you have headphones or speakers then tap the large speaker button in the middle of the Tone Trainer

Step 2: Listen carefully to the tone then click which tone you think is correct

Step 3: The correct tone with its Pinyin will appear below the tone trainer in the left corner

Step 4: Tap the speaker button to try again. Your total score will be calculated in the upper-right corner of the Tone Trainer.

**Tip: Tap any of the Pinyin pronunciations in the lower left corner to see what the Pinyin means and what Chinese characters use that Pinyin!

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  • Will Newcomb says:

    Thanks as ever for the tools you provide.
    I’ve just been using the tone trainer and it seems as though most of the tones seem to be either 1st or 4th tone, but my real difficulty is in recognising the difference between 2nd and 3rd tones. Is there any way of increasing their frequency?


    Will Newcomb

    • Nora Joy Wilson says:

      Hi Will! Thanks for the feedback. We will look into increasing the frequency of 2nd and 3rd tones. I don’t think you’re alone in your struggles with those! 🙂

  • Peter Bay Jespersen says:

    I did a basic ~10-week Putonghua course (Uni summer school) back in 2009, but no practice since, forgot most of it. Tone recognition was not one of my strong points, but learning to control my voice to say them also, needs work! So Written Chinese site looks good ! (Especially now that, my old standby for handwritten unknown hanzimen, appears to have died since being taken over).
    Now, I seem to be pretty ok with single tones (3 mistakes out of 103 (mostly on 2nd tone) on first try, but I know the way tones are said changes with combinations, like a third tone followed by second is pronounced like a fourth tone followed by second. How to deal with second tone followed by a first tone has been my big (unanswered) question…
    So, good to start with, but need two(+)-tone combos as well since the way tones are said can change in combos, and gradually increasing speed of speaker, please.

    • Nora Joy Wilson says:

      Hi Peter! Thanks for your feedback and personal story about learning Chinese. As I’ve found, there are periods when I am a very dedicated student and then sometimes I slip up and don’t study for a while. I think the point is to continue getting back on the horse and not getting frustrated if there are some things you’ve forgotten. Just keep pressing forward! Regarding your question about how some tones change when appearing in various combinations, we wrote an article that tells you all the rules for these cases here. Happy Studying!

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  • Kyle Balmer says:

    Nice tool! Thanks for putting it together. Just a heads-up that I’ve linked to the tool from this blog article that I’ve just posted:
    Keep up the good work

  • Quang Nguyen (GM) says:

    Hi, I can recognize the tones for 1 character pretty well. But for 2 characters together it gets more difficult. Do you have a tone trainer for 2 characters together?

    • Nora Joy Wilson says:

      Hi Quang: We currently don’t have this function but it is a good idea for a future version of the tone trainer. I will add it to our wishlist and discuss it with the developers at our next meeting. Thanks for the suggestion!

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