Asking Better Questions

I just got (moderately) punked by my macroeconomics professor and learned an important lesson in the process.

We were looking at quarterly GDP data over the past 6 years and noting that consumer spending remained strong during the 2000/2001 recession. I asked the following question:
What does the strong spending imply about savings?

...and got the following (paraphrased) response:
Well, by definition, savings is the income that you don't spend - so there really isn't any saving.

Doh! I set myself up for that one with an overly ambiguous question that didn't really ask anything. Luckily, the professor kept going and addressed the broader context of my question by talking about the implications of low savings in the US economy.

For what it's worth - I thought his answer to my question was fantastically sarcastic!