Thirty years later the entire class would laugh about it over drinks, or most of them would anyway. For his part, Zhang Hua would simply get a far-away look in his eye whenever his mind travelled back to those five days he had spent huddled for shelter in a moss-covered hollow after his teacher and classmates had driven back to the city oblivious to the significance of the empty seat in the back of the bus.Learning Chinese? By now you've learned that Chinese people like to answer questions by repeating the verb used to ask them in either the affirmative or negative form. But did you know there are some situations in which this rule isn't quite so reliable? This podcast covers one of these cases, in which the common verb 是 is - much like Zhang Hua in our dialogue - strangely absent from its usual place.