For many questions in Chinese, it's best to respond by repeating the verb. Here's a few I just made up:

Q: 你哪儿国人? A: 我中国人。

Q: 刘老师什么? A: 刘老师她的老公。
Q: 她老公吗? A: 对,她老公。

Q: 小王什么? A: 小王狗。

And I can think of many others (你想吃什么? 你在什么?你在什么?你的牙吗?). But this one breaks the rules:

Q: 你什么工作?
A: 我医生

Or we might respond 我老师 or 我校长, or 我职员, etc., depending on our job.

Question: Is there a way to respond to 你做什么工作? starting with 我做...?

Perhaps there's something inherently wrong with answering the question starting with 我做....


4 Answers 4


Because 医生 is what you are, not what you do.

You can respond with 我教英语, 我卖面包, 我开出租车, if you want.

In most cases, 我是XX sounds more natural if your job has a simple and direct name, such as 医生, 教师, 司机, 厨师, etc. The other pattern is more likely to be used when you want to specifically describe what you do.


做 is like the English word 'do'. So, 'do' could stand for any verb in English.

I think this concept works for Chinese as well.

For example,

A: 你在做什么? // what are you doing?

B: 我在玩游戏。 // I am playing a game.

As you can see, when you response to 做, you should answer what you are actually doing. It could be any verb.

In your case,

A: 你做什么工作? // what do you do?

B: 我是医生。 // I am a doctor.

This is the same as you response in English.

If you really want to use 做 in your answer, you could say 我是做医生的. But it's not as concise as 我是医生。

  • That’s also still using 是 as the main verb—做 is part of an embedded clause, not part of the main clause. To maintain 做 in the main clause, you’d have to say something like 我做医生的工作 (except that sounds like you’re doing the doctor’s work instead of him doing it himself). Nov 6, 2017 at 17:22
  • @JanusBahsJacquet, 我做医生的工作 sounds like you are doing a doctor's work but you might not be a real doctor. Well, 我是做医生的 means your occupation is being a doctor. ...的 is the phrase that could be used to denote an occupation, for example, 做医生的, 坐办公室的, 当老师的 ... So these sentences would be valid: 我是当老师的, 我是坐办公室的, 我是做医生的。
    – dan
    Nov 6, 2017 at 23:32
  • Yes, they’re perfectly valid, and they mean the right thing. But they’re not repeating the 做 from the question, which is what Becky is asking about. From the point of view of the verb in the question (做) being replaced in the answer by a different verb (是), there is no difference between 我是医生 and 我是做医生的: both use 是 as the verb, not 做. Nov 6, 2017 at 23:40
  • @JanusBahsJacquet, you are right with that point. I hope OP wouldn't be confused by the comments here.
    – dan
    Nov 6, 2017 at 23:45

Yes, if you make things, but even then it's not the job name but the name of the thing. For example: 我做游戏. (I make games) 我做最好吃的蛋糕 (I make the best cakes)。

You can also use it with a superlative and the name of the job, although it's a little awkward: 我做世界上最好的老师。我做一个很了不起的运动员。 (I am / serve as the world's best teacher) (I am / serve as a great athlete)


你做什么工作 doesn't sound smooth in Chinese. The correct expression and the one native speakers usually say is 你什么工作, which can be furtherly shortened into 你什么. In this case, you can respond it with 我做...的.

Q: 你什么工作? // what job do you do?

A: 我医生。 // I am a doctor.

Q: 你什么? // what job do you do?

A: 我英语。 // I teach English.

Answering these kind of questions, you just need to pair the verb with 的 placed at the end of the sentence.

Here are some examples:

钢琴。 // I play piano.

游戏。 // I make game.

开发软件。 // I develop software.

足球。 // I play soccer.

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