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如今,美食家们对吃提出了更高的要求。他们不仅要观色、闻香、尝味、赏形,而且还要求食物具有养生方面的特色。我想,家乡的萝卜饼完全具备这几个方面的条件,人们不是常说吗——“鱼生火,肉生痰,青菜萝卜保平安”,养生的功能,让我更加喜爱它了。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, section 19.

What is the meaning of 人们不是常说吗? People not often say (Google translate) or people often say (Baidu translate)? Also, what is this long dash —— (without space)?

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The author is using a known saying (“鱼生火,肉生痰,青菜萝卜保平安”) as a question to strengthen his viewpoint ("养生的功能,让我更加喜爱它了.")

  • Doesn't people often/frequently say - ...... (a list, or a saying)

This style of writing is known as "反問語態" - use the question form to ascertain/proof something with the effect of emphasizing and strengthening the viewpoint.

Some Chinese editor tends to place "一" in place of the hyphen.

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    Thank you again for your answer, r13. I am a little perplexed that the question mark (?) is not used. There should be somewhere the question mark (?), but I don't see it. Dec 15, 2022 at 14:42
  • I think English has the same rule, as the question is actually serving as an argument that uses well-known, non-deniable facts or saying in question form to support the message the writer wanted to convey. So it is essentially a statement rather than a true question, for which the answer usually is not known at the time of asking. Hope this makes sense.
    – r13
    Dec 15, 2022 at 15:57
  • 人们不是常说吗——“鱼生火,肉生痰,青菜萝卜保平安”,养生的功能,让我更加喜爱它了。(in reverse question form) = 就像是人們常說的——“鱼生火,肉生痰,青菜萝卜保平安”,养生的功能,让我更加喜爱它了。(a statement)
    – r13
    Dec 15, 2022 at 16:02
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    @Konstantinos You're completely correct, and r13 is wrong in the reply but not the message. This is rhetorical question and in English translation would absolutely use a question mark. It's just a grammatical distinction between the two languages' conventions, like how Brits have mostly stopped using title case for works of art but Americans haven't or Hongkongers will write their SURNAME in all caps.
    – lly
    Dec 17, 2022 at 15:42
  • @lly Do you mean 人们不是常说吗 - "鱼生火,肉生痰,青菜萝卜保平安”? 养生的功能,让我更加喜爱它了。
    – r13
    Dec 17, 2022 at 19:34

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