I found this helpful post on the site outlining how to ask a child what they want to do/be when they grow up.





Are these questions equally appropriate for young adults, say 16-25 year olds? In English, it's sort of odd (but not unheard of) to include "when you grow up" since these individuals are already pretty much 'grown up'. Instead, you might say "What do you want to do as a career, what are your future goals/aspirations, what are you planning to do beyond high school/college, what are you studying to become etc"

If this is similarly done in Mandarin, then what are some appropriate ways to inquire about career intentions when speaking to this age cohort?

  • 1
    All the same in Chinese. Your issue can be simply resolved by replacing 长大后 with 将来, 今后, etc. E. g. 将来你想做什么?你今后有什么打算? And there are many ways to express this indeed.
    – dan
    Jun 28, 2020 at 0:18
  • 1
    If you want to be more specific 你将来想做什么 工作
    – Bósài
    Jun 28, 2020 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


Use 你長大後 (when you grow up) only when you are asking a child or teenager.

You can use 你将来 (in the future) to ask people of all ages.

"想做什麼?"(want to do/be what) , "想當什麼?" (want to be what) and "想干什么" (want to do/be what) can all refer to "what career do you want to have?"

In different context 你将来想做什麼 and 你将来想干什么 can both refer to "what do you want to do in the future" e.g. "I want to study martial art in the future"

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