What do you do 你做什么工作?/你的职业是什么?

By Ling-Ling Lisa Shih
From Ling-LingChinese.com

extra vocabulary for professions
Source: Integrated Chinese Level 1 Part 1–3rd ed. p. 59

Chinese Character Stand-Posters | Chinese Books | Learn Chinese | Posters | ISBN 9787534263118

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "métiers clipart"

How do you ask someone what they do for living in Chinese? Here are three ways to ask this question.

  1. 请问您做什么工作?

Qǐnqwèn nín zuò shénme gōngzuò?)

(Literally, “Please ask you do what work?” “Qǐnqwèn” means “May I ask”–It is just a polite way to ask someone this question: “What do you do (for a living)?”

2. 你是做什么工作的?

(Nǐ shì zuò shénme gōngzuò de?)

What do you do for a living?

3. 你的职业是什么?

(Nǐ de zhíyè shì shénme?)

(Literally, your profession is what?–> It can be translated as “What is your profession?” It is just a more formal way of asking the same question, “What do you do?” (你做什么工作?)


If you are a student, someone may ask you, “What would you like to do?”

In Chinese we would say,

A: 你想做什么工作?

(Nǐ xiǎng zuò shénme gōngzuò?)

Literally translated, “You want to do what work?”

In English, you would translate as “What do you want to do?”

Here is how you would answer:

B : 我想做________________。

(Wǒ xiǎng zuò…) (I want to be….)



(Wo xiǎng dāng…) (I want to be…)

(老师 / 律师/ 中文老师/ 英文老师/ 医生/ 警察/ 工程师/ 工人/ 护士/ 建筑师/ 商人/ 电脑工程师/ 药剂师/ 会计/ 经理)

If you are retired, you simply say:

我退休了。Wǒ tuìxiū le.

L2D2 What do you do for a living (in PDF)

Vocabulary List for the above sentences or questions

ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
1   you (informal, as opposed to courteous  )
2   zuò to do; to make; to act as; to engage in;  to be; to become; to function (in some capacity); to serve as
3 什么  什麼 shén me what
4 工作  gōngzuò to work; (of a machine) to operate; job; work; task; Classifiers: 
5 职业  職業 zhí  occupation; profession; vocation; professional
6   shì is; are; am; yes; to be
7   de of; ~’s (possessive particle); (used after an attribute); (used to form a nominal expression); (used at the end of a declarative sentence for emphasis)
8   xiǎng to think; to believe; to suppose; to wish; to want
9   噹, 當 dāng to be; to act as

L2D2 Chinese Vocabulary Worksheet for What do you do and What would you like to do

Vocabulary for Common Professions

ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
1 老师  老師 lǎo shī teacher; Classifiers: 
2 律师  律師  shī lawyer
3 中文  zhōng wén Chinese language
4 英文  yīng wén English (language)
5 医生  醫生  shēng doctor; Classifiers: 
6 警察  jǐng chá police; police officer; Classifiers: 
7 工程师  工程師 gōng chéngshī engineer; Classifiers: 
8 工人  gōng rén worker; Classifiers: 
9 护士  護士  shi nurse; Classifiers: 
10 建筑师  建築師 jiàn zhù shī architect
11 商人  shāng rén merchant; businessman
12 电脑  電腦 diàn nǎo computer; Classifiers: 
13 药剂师  藥劑師 yào  shī  pharmacist
14 会计  會計 kuài  accountant; accountancy; accounting
15 经理  經理 jīng  manager; director; Classifiers: 
16 退休  tuì xiū to retire; retirement (from work)
17   le (modal particle intensifying preceding clause); (completed action marker)

Downloadable Worksheets:

For more videos and more vocabulary on professions/jobs, please go to:

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