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I wrote this (Kong Lin has just met a non-binary person, and the narrator describes her mental process):

反而孔琳觉得无所谓,别人的性别不是她的选择,不过她客气还是不客气就是她的选择。

It's intended to mean something along the lines of:

Instead, Kong Lin doesn't really care, another person's gender is not her choice, but being polite or not is her choice.

My teacher changed it to the following (I think, I may have made a mistake):

反而孔琳觉得无所谓,别人的性别不是孔琳能决定的,不过她礼貌不礼貌是她的态度

I'm completely puzzled by 态度 = "attitude" being used here. Searching for 是她的态度 gives results which lead me to think there's a meaning of 态度 that I don't know, and I've transcribed her corrections accurately.

Question: What does 态度 mean in 她礼貌不礼貌是她的态度?

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    why not talk with your teacher about it? – julian Mar 1 at 4:12
  • As far as I know, there is no "hidden" meaning to 态度. Perhaps the English equivalent, "attitude", has too wide a latitude in meaning to suit the sentence. Try, if you like, 心态, which narrows it down to "mindset" or "mentality"? – Wayne Cheah Mar 1 at 5:27
  • Maybe I'll bring it up with her next class and see what she says (if there's no explanation in the meantime). Sometimes it's helpful to get multiple perspectives. – Becky 李蓓 Mar 1 at 9:28
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    I think the reason why people have hard time to comment here is that your Chinese sentence is stilted or not idiomatic when you turned your writing from English to Chinese. – dan Mar 1 at 13:07
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It's easy to get tangled up between languages and end up confused. Teech was probably in a hurry and a bit confused.

My tip: take your original language and simplify it as much as you can, then translate. If that doesn't do it, paraphrase, then translate.

态度: attitude towards someone or something

相反,孔琳其实并不在乎,她不能决定别人的性别,但是她可以决定自己的态度。

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I would say 她礼貌不礼貌是她的态度 is not a valid sentence.

You can say 她礼貌不礼貌是她的态度 which means "whether she was being polite or not is her manner, after all". This is valid but not fit your needs.

And it still sounds vague, this kind of expression has an English expression smell.

It is not your fault, modern Chinese expression is being like English.

You can rephrase to:

反而孔琳觉得无所谓,别人的性别不是她的选择,不过她客气还是不客气就是另一回事了.

Which means:

Instead, Kong Lin doesn't really care, another person's gender is not her choice, but being polite or not is another story.( means she has to choose being polite or not).

even I will rephrase it to:

反而孔琳觉得无所谓,因为那是别人的性别,不过客不客气就是另一回事了.

When you use 反而, usually you want to use 因为. Since I don't know the context...

Here is the most simple expression

不过孔琳不在乎, 性别选择是别人的事, 但客不客气就是她的事了.

Since you are writing a novel, your expression is your style, you can use anything that you like if only it is a valid sentence.

It is your choice.

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