Me in 20 Years: a Chinese Kid’s Essay

I love this kid’s essay! (Most of it is fairly simple, but there are a few really hard parts. Electronic transcript and translation follow.)

child essay

> 四年级3班:蒋小强

> 作文:《二十年后的我》


> 这个星期你站着上课!

And the English translation:

> Grade 4, Class #3: Jiang Xiaoqiang

> Essay: “Me in 20 Years”

> Today the weather is nice, so my wife and I take
our darling son and daughter to travel the world. Suddenly,
from the side of the road emerges a reeking, filthy-faced,
homeless old woman. My God! It’s none other than my
Chinese teacher from 20 years ago!

> This week you stand through class!

My Chinese friends are of the opinion that it’s fake and the handwriting isn’t a real third grader’s, but I was still very amused by this.

Also, if you’re trying to read this and feeling frustrated, these are the really hard parts (well beyond intermediate-level):

环游世界: to take a trip around the world
冲出: to charge out
浑身: from head to toe
恶臭: stench
满脸: the entire face
污秽: filthy
无家可归: homeless (lit. “no home to return to”)
竟然: unexpectedly (a grammar point)


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Hahahaha, awesome

    Note the kid’s name is “小强” … who names their kid that? At least where I’m from, it’s a nickname only, sometimes for people, but most often referring to cockroaches. This has been the case for long enough that someone naming a child (now in Grade 4) would have known at the time of birth/naming.

    • Livonor Says: June 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      LOL I just saw this name on a 例文 that I mined, I wonder how it would sound in 日本語, スクツヨ perhaps? Wow, that’s sound even worst.

  2. I remember seeing something similar in Portuguese years ago, it seems to be one of those “running jokes”.

  3. konporer Says: June 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    actually this xiaoqiang name together wiht the surnname feels legit, also the handwriting feels exactly like from elementary school,,the way the discriptive words are used feels like this kid had just learnt them from the text book,,,,, quite possibly this is real

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