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

2. What could cause a writer to write unclear?
(a) Not having brainstormed enough.
(b) Not having enough experience.
(c) Not taking any writing classes.
(d) Not knowing what they want to say.

3. How does a thesaurus help with brainstorming?
(a) The book provides brainstorming exercises.
(b) The book gives a list of unrelated words that weeds out the bad choices.
(c) There are pictures of mindmaps within each thesaurus.
(d) Looking up a word leads to a list of related words and gives overal word choices and concepts.

4. How does Zissner have the ability to choose words for the American Heritage Dictionary?
(a) He is on the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel
(b) He created the Dictionary.
(c) He works for the American Heritage Dictionary
(d) He is related to someone on the panel.

5. What is the mood or voice in a piece?
(a) The mood is the way the characters feel in a piece.
(b) Mood or voice is the way the characters speak to one another.
(c) The voice is the authority figure in a nonfiction piece.
(d) Mood or voice is the way a piece sounds to the reader in the imaginations inner ear.

6. What is one of Zissner's biggest pet peeves?
(a) When people write in their books.
(b) When people say they can write a book as if it is easy.
(c) When people dog ear the pages of a book.
(d) When people leave the toilet seat up.

7. Should exclamation points be used in serious writing?
(a) They should be used sparingly. One per paragraph is fine.
(b) They should be sprinkled into paragraphs like salt and pepper. The more the better.
(c) They should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
(d) Only serious writing has serious exclamation points. How else would people understand astonishment?

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

9. What period in U.S. history does Zissner point out as a time filled with euphemisms?
(a) The Korean War.
(b) World War II.
(c) Spanish Civil War.
(d) The Vietnam War.

10. What should every paragraph end with?
(a) All paragraphs should repeat the first sentence.
(b) Every paragraph needs to have a hook or a cliffhanger that will lead the reader into the next paragraph.
(c) All paragraphs should end with a summary of the entire paragraph.
(d) Every paragraph should end with a period.

11. Who are two authors that Zissner admires for solid writing and ornamentation?
(a) Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe.
(b) Virginia Woolfe and Sylvia Plath.
(c) Sylvia Plath and Jane Austen.
(d) Normal Mailer and Virginia Wolfe.

12. What is an example of a hit book that was rejected several times?
(a) Harry Potter.
(b) Jurassic Park.
(c) Eleven on Top.
(d) Pride and Prejudice.

13. What does Zissner believe authors are fearful of in their writing?
(a) Stating where they live.
(b) Writing poorly.
(c) The reader not relating to them.
(d) Stating their true opinions, ideas, and judgments.

14. What is a strange but effective way of proofreading to check for errors?
(a) Reading through a window.
(b) Reading under a blacklight.
(c) Reading a story upside down.
(d) Reading a piece backwards.

15. How does Zinsser approach unusual words?
(a) He is very conservative and will never cross a proper word line.
(b) He accepts some, but not all.
(c) He is modern when it comes to English, but would rather keep it simple.
(d) He is very welcoming of a transforming English language.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why do Americans have trouble writing?

2. What does Zissner use to highlight clutter in his students' writing?

3. What does Zissner say is a common desire of every writer?

4. How much research does Zinsser recommend for an article?

5. What attitude should writers embrace towards their editors?

(see the answer keys)

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