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我一毕业就去上海“当”律师 This sentence is given to me in the book. However, I wonder if I can write it like this instead of using another word:

我一毕业就去上海”做“律师?

I think the meaning is the same, but which is grammatically correct?

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当 is grammarly correct, it means "to be"

当...(职业)is the correct expression. for example:

当老师,当医生,当科学家, and it cannot be replaced by 做.

做, means "do", is to ask someone's occupation. for example:

你是做什么的?what you do for a living? it cannot be replaced by 当.

so 我一毕业就去上海”做“律师? is a strange way to say but we also understand.

BTW, I think most of the problems asked in this Chinese Language section is simply because you guys don't have the context or not familiar with the convention.

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当 is a verb that means 'to be/ working as/ take on the role or position of' when it is followed by an identity

Examples: 当好人,当警察,当媒人,当法官

做 means 'do' or 'perform' when it is followed by a task. e.g. 做法事,做宣传,做工木,做手术. But when it is followed by an identity, it is almost interchangeable with 当 (当 being more formal)

Examples: 做好人,做警察,做媒人,做法官

Mandarin usually use 当 for 'working as/ take on the role or position of', but some regions prefer 做. (Cantonese use 做 instead )

Related question: What's the difference between 我是老师 or 我当老师?

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  • Quote:- "Cantonese use 做 instead" So do the Hakka. It actually sounds strange using 当 in Hakka in the context of OP's question. There is also the term "当做", meaning to regard or to pretend something or someone as some other. Aug 5 '20 at 5:41
  • 当 in 当做 is a different usage of 当; Cantonese never say 当律师 instead of 做律师. My impression is, Mandarin is another way around
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 5 '20 at 5:46

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