I know 做/当 in some contexts may mean "to be", as in:

  • 他现在老师了。 He is a teacher now.
  • 她愿意我女朋友。 She accepted to be my girlfriend.
  • 我毕业后想经理。 After I graduate I want to be a manager.

I have a hard time explaining to my students when they have to use 做/当 and can't use 是. Any ideas?

  • 1
    願意/想 (want to) should be used with 做/當 (become). Note that there isn't anything particularly wrong with saying "他現在是老師了", and you can also say something like "她現在是我女朋友".
    – dROOOze
    Apr 6, 2018 at 14:59
  • 1
    作 may be used instead of 做: bkrs:作,(充当; 担任) act as; be; become: 我来作翻译。 I'll act as interpreter. 人民当家作主人。 The people are the masters of their country
    – user6065
    Apr 6, 2018 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, 是 expresses a state 一种状态 and it's used to state a fact,while 做/当 denotes an act 一种动作, meaning 充当,担任. For example, 我是老师 clarified the fact you are a teacher, while 我做/当老师 denotes you want to act as a teacher even if sometimes it's not really your job.

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