Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £35.99 £24.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

How to ask someone’s job

In this video ,we will learn how to ask occupations.
LI Hui: Amy, look. This is an old photo of my family. It’s from 16 years ago. Zhè shì wǒ bàba, zhè shì wǒ māma, zhè shì wǒ gēge.
LI Yameng: Zhè shì nǐ ma?
LI Hui: Duì, zhè shì wǒ.
LI Yameng: Wow, I can’t believe it’s you. You look so cute.
LI Hui: Yeah. “Zhè shì” is used to introduce someone or something, meaning this is, like “Zhè shì wǒ bàba.”, “Zhè shì wǒ māma.”, “Zhè shì wǒ gēge.”, “Zhè shì wǒ.”
Here are some words. Péngyou, tóngxué, lǎoshī.
Try to introduce them to us by using “zhè shì”. Zhè shì wǒ péngyou, zhè shì wǒ tóngxué, zhè shì wǒ lǎoshī.
LI Yameng: Lydia, what does your father do? Nǐ bàba zuò shénme gōngzuò?
LI Hui:Wǒ bàba shì lǎoshī.
LI Yameng: Nǐ māma zuò shénme gōngzuò?
LI Hui: Wǒ māma shì yīshēng. LI Yameng” Nà nǐ gēge ne?
LI Hui: Tā shì lǜshī.
LI Yameng: Wow, that’s cool. “Nǐ bàba zuò shénme gōngzuò?” means “what does your father do?” “Zuò” means “to do”. “Gōngzuò” means “job”. When you answer this question, you can just say subject plus “shì” plus noun. Like “Wǒ bàba shì lǎoshī.”, “Wǒ māma shì yīshēng.”, “Wǒ gēge shì lǜshī.”
LI Hui: Amy, “Nǐ bàba zuò shénme gōngzuò?”
LI Yameng: Wǒ bàba shì yínháng jīnglǐ.
LI Hui: Wow, nǐ māma ne?
LI Yameng: Wǒ māma shì jiātíng zhǔfù, tā xǐhuan zuòfàn.
My mum is a housewife. She likes cooking.
“Tā xǐhuan zuòfàn.” means “She likes cooking.” “Xǐhuan” means “to like”. Here are some words. Could you please tell us what you like and dislike? Such as, “Wǒ xǐhuan hànyǔ.”, “Wǒ xǐhuan chànggē.”,”Wǒ bù xǐhuan pǎobù.”, “Wǒ bù xǐhuan tiàowǔ.”
LI Hui: Now you know how to ask about someone’s job in Chinese. You can say–
LI Yameng: Nǐ zuò shénme gōngzuò? But when you answer this question, just say “wǒ shì” plus occupation.
LI Hui: Yeah, and don’t forget the sentence “wǒ xǐhuan”.

This video closely relates to the previous one. After we know others’ family members, we often ask about their occupations. First let’s take a look at how to introduce family members.

“这是(zhè shì)……” is used to introduce someone or something, meaning “this is. “

For example,

  • 这是我爸爸。 (Zhè shì wǒ bàba.) This is my dad.
  • 这是我朋友。 (Zhè shì wǒ péngyou.) This is my friend.
  • 这是我老师。 (Zhè shì wǒ lǎoshī.) This is my teacher.
“老师(lǎoshī)” is a kind of occupation. Here are some other words about occupations.
  • 医生(yīshēng) doctor
  • 律师(lǜshī) lawyer
  • 银行经理(yínháng jīnglǐ) bank manager
  • 学生(xuéshēng) student

The following pattern can be used for asking about occupation.

你爸爸做什么工作? (Nǐ bàba zuò shénme gōngzuò?)

The subject “你爸爸(nǐ bàba)” can be changed to other persons. “做(zuò)” means “to do”, “工作(gōngzuò)” means “job”. When you answer this question, you can just say

Subject + 是 + Noun(occupation)

我爸爸是银行经理。 (Wǒ bàba shì yínháng jīnglǐ.)

This article is from the free online

Learn Chinese: Introduction to Chinese Conversation

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now