Have you noticed that 爷爷 (yéye grandpa) and 爸爸 (bàba papa, dad) share the radical 父 (fù father)?
Now, check the following list and see if you can point out the common root shared by these words.
人 (rén person, human being)
大 (dà big, large)
太 (tài too, excessively, top-most)
犬 (rén dog, canine)
天 (tiān sky, heaven)
夫 (fū husband, man)
That’s right. The root of the above characters is 人 (rén human being). Whereas 女人 (nǚrén) is a female person, or a woman, 男人 (nánrén) is a male person, or a man. The top part of the character 男 (nán male person) is 田 (tián), which means fields or cropland; and the lower part is 力 (lì), which represents physical strength. So, men are those human beings who work in the fields.
If you first make a horizontal stroke then add a 人 (rén) to it, then you would get the character 大 (dà), which stands for “big” or “large”. We know that 小孩 (xiǎohái) is a child. The word for an adult is 大人 (dàrén).
Add an extra tick below 大 (dà big, large), and you’d get the word 太 (tài), which means “excessively” or “supreme”. As a bonus for learning this character, 太太 (tàitai), is how one refers to one’s wife. It also represents the title “Mrs.”.
It matter where you place the tick mark in a character. If you place it in the upper-right quadrant of 大 (dà), you’d turn it into the formal word for “dog”, 犬. The everyday word for “dog” is 狗 (gǒu).
It also matters whether a vertical stroke pokes out of a horizontal stroke or not. For example, make a horizontal stroke then add the character 大 (dà) beneath it. You’d get something that is bigger than “big”, namely, the sky, 天 (tiān). If you let the first stroke of 人 (rén) poke out of the character for sky, then you’d have written a totally different character, 夫 (fū), which means “husband”, and also stands for “man”. 夫人 (fūrén) is a respectful way of addressing a lady. So, for example, 王夫人 (Wáng fūrén) is a more respectful way of addressing Mrs. Wang than 王太太 (Wáng tàitai).