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Nov 5, 2005

How much wood would a woodcuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Actually, a woodchuck would chuck no wood since a woodchuck can’t chuck wood. But if a woodchuck could chuck and would chuck some amount of wood, how much wood would a woodchuck chuck?
Well, even if a woodchuck could chuck wood and even if a woodchuck would chuck wood, should a woodchuck chuck wood?—That’s the question we should really ask ourselves.
The reality is, a woodchuck should chuck wood as long as a woodchuck could chuck wood and as long as a woodchuck would chuck wood.
To answer the initial question, however, we must first have a closer look at what it is really asking. The dictionary has several meanings of the word chuck. Tap, throw and vomit are just a few of its definitions. Also, a “woodchuck,” as discovered in my research, is actually a groundhog, weasel or whistle pig.
Finally, we should also be sure of the definition of “wood.” This can mean either the hard, fibrous substance beneath the bark of a tree, a golf club or a keg.
And so by substituting these terms into the question I’ve come up with three possibilities of what the question is actually intending to ask, answering each.

Question 1: How much hard, fibrous substance beneath the bark of a tree would a ground hog tap if a ground hog would tap the hard, fibrous substance beneath the bark of a tree?
Answer: Enough to produce a handful of sawdust.

Question 2: How much of a keg would a weasel throw if a weasel would throw a keg?
Answer: Enough to hold a handful of sawdust.

Question 3: How much of a golf driver would a whistle pig vomit if a whistle pig would vomit a golf driver?
Answer: Enough to require a handful of sawdust.

While we can speculate until the woodchuck chucks, which definitions the question intends, the only thing we know for sure is that if you see a woodchuck about to chuck wood, you’d better either be wearing safety goggles and an apron or stand well back.


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