I've heard the phrase 您高就 without an interrogative rise at the end. The way it was spoken sounded like a statement, but in context it was more like a question.

Can this phrase be a question? Or was I misunderstanding how it was being used?

What would a direct (part of speech) translation be for 您高就?

Something like

您- you (second person pronoun, formal)

高- high (adj.)

就- verb (from classical Chinese ... work? occupation? )


6 Answers 6


If you are looking for an exact English translation, the answer is that there isn't one.

It is a tradition in Chinese culture. When you are talking about/to other people, you should butter him/her up by exaggerating his/her achievements, wealth, position and etc. And do the opposite thing when talking about yourself. It's all about being polite (when talking about others) and modest (when talking about yourself).

An example conversation may be like this:

  • A: 您在哪里高就呢? (So I heard that you've got an excellent job now. Where is it again? )

  • B: 哪里哪里,不过就是在Google混口饭吃而已。 (Well, I work at Google, just barely getting by.)

A called B's job an "excellent job(高就)", not necessarily for the literal meaning, but just being polite. And B said that he is "just getting by"(混饭吃/混口饭吃), which is not necessarily true (we all know Google pays a lot) but just being modest. The translation above isn't word-by-word. But you get the gist. You can also see that you can't talk to a native English speaker like that.

If you say:

  • 我在Google高就
  • 听说你在Google混饭吃

While these sentences are grammarly correct, they are simply wrong.

So don't bother with the translation or the grammar. Just understand the cultural difference behind this.


If you are really into grammar, it's something like this:

高(adv. better)就(v. work)

您(在哪里)高就 (Where are you working?)

To be culturally correct, 高 should be lost in translation.


您高就 = (请问)您(在哪里)高就?

Direct translation is: May I ask where you work?

The question is in a very formal and polite way.


In my considered opinion:


您- you (second person pronoun, formal)

高- high (adj.)

就- achievement.

However 就 here comes from 成就 which means achievement. The interrogative turn would thus mean "Where are you achieving (i.e. working and attaining (hopefully!) praise and achievement)". As for the non-interrogative turn I would consider it just a nuance of chinese formality, which involves giving higher respect and honour to others (thus 高 in this sentence), an often quoted example is the respectable way to ask someone's age (你貴庚? literally "You, (wealthy or prestigious)=honourable, year (taken from the ancient chinese way of year-counting)?")


Have you found a better job?

另有高就 is an idiom, and 高就 is a set verb phrase. 就 itself is an extremely versatile construction, here meaning accomplish or perhaps move toward (a higher position).


At first glance, I thought that it's just 高就 which means "promote in work". But according to your explanation, I wonder if it's a polite question asking "Where do you work?"

Grammatically, means "high(ly)" and means "occupy oneself" or "occupy (a position)".

P.S. Some examples from the first few pages at Google:

I asked him nervously, "May I ask your profession, Uncle Shi?"
現在的台灣創世神界需要大量的建築人才,(...) 請您高就敝團隊
Today's Taiwanese Minecraftdom requires massive construction manpower, ... Your commitment to our team would be appreciated! (jocular)


I disagree with all the other answers.

It think the 就 in 就业 should be the same as that in 高就。
就 gets its meaning from 就近
which means to approach or just go(就) towards something nearby(近).
So literally, 就业 means to approach a job => to find a job or got a job,
and 高就 means high-paying 就业.

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