On Writing Well Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

William Zinsser
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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Can a writer simply write the article with one interview?
(a) No, there should always be mulitple interviews.
(b) No, editing is too hard with just one interview.
(c) Yes, but it should be avoided because people forget things in the first interview.
(d) Yes, but it is better to have mulitple interviews and meld them together into one incident.

2. What is the response previous students have to his style of edits?
(a) They like it much better than red pen all over a paper.
(b) They say they never liked the highlighting.
(c) They say then can still see the brackets.
(d) They hated it, and have nightmares about his style.

3. What does Zissner say is a common desire of every writer?
(a) To find shortcuts.
(b) To take the long route to everything.
(c) To mae sure grammar is perfect.
(d) To pay perfect attention to detail.

4. What is the biggest mistake a writer can make when creating sentences?
(a) Packing in too much information into one sentence.
(b) Not creating sentences that readers want to read.
(c) Overediting sentences.
(d) Not reading their sentences aloud.

5. What is the purpose of colons?
(a) They are good to use in place of quotations for dialogue.
(b) They can be used to separate a sentance and start another without having to capitalize the first word.
(c) Colons are used to explain sentences.
(d) To start out a list of things without using list form.

6. What makes a good first sentence?
(a) A good first sentence needs to be written with exceptional grammer.
(b) The first sentence only sets up the second sentence. That is the one writers should focus on.
(c) A good first sentence has a good lead. A good lead is one that works.
(d) A good ending is best to tie up the first sentence.

7. What group of people does the author think has the worst type of writing?
(a) Toddlers.
(b) Politicians.
(c) Teachers.
(d) Musicians.

8. What do interviews do for the writer?
(a) They make a writer less valid, since he or she needs to interview several people to create one article.
(b) Interviews humanize a topic, making a boring topic interesting.
(c) They make a writer feel stupid since he or she does not know that much about a subject.
(d) They make the writer an expert in a given subject.

9. Who is rivaling everything that Zissner is saying?
(a) Another writer.
(b) A doctor who writes for a hobby.
(c) A student in the audience.
(d) The professor of the class.

10. What are Zissner's feelings about writing?
(a) Writing is difficult, but with the right tools, anyone can do it.
(b) Writing is easy and anyone can do it.
(c) Writing is a craft that is developed over time.
(d) Writing can easily be taught.

11. Who is the author talking to at the beginning of the book?
(a) He is talking to his wife.
(b) He is talking with his editor.
(c) He is presenting to student writers at a Connecticut school.
(d) He is talking to his mother.

12. What is another important characteristic of a writer?
(a) To be aware of the way words are spelled.
(b) To sound out simple sentences.
(c) To sound out simple syllables.
(d) To be aware of the rhythm and sound of words together.

13. What is a dash useful for?
(a) Dashes are good to connect complex sentences.
(b) Dashes are good to separate thoughts.
(c) Dashes are good in place of exclamations.
(d) Dashes act as pointers to a point and to set off parenthetical statementes.

14. How does a writer become better at his craft?
(a) By taking a writing class.
(b) By taking initiative to improve every day.
(c) By avoiding trashy novels.
(d) By reading everything.

15. What is a major job of a nonfiction writer?
(a) Conducting interviews with people who know about the writing project subject.
(b) Learning as much as possible about a subject before taking on a project.
(c) Majoring in the subject they will write about.
(d) Taking on a project with a clean slate. Just like a jury in a legal battle.

Short Answer Questions

1. What should every paragraph end with?

2. When can ornamental writing be used as an exception?

3. Why doesn't he simply cross out clutter?

4. What does the etymology of words mean?

5. Do good writers decorate their writing?

(see the answer keys)

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