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. Why is the English language so easy to use when writing?
(a) It has strict rules that makes it impossible to stray.
(b) There are very limited words, so there is no need to find alternatives, which cuts time in half.
(c) It is rich with words.
(d) English isn't an easy language and is not easy to write at all.

2. What are two tools every writer should use?
(a) Spell check and dictionary.
(b) Thesaraus and dictionary.
(c) Spell check and grammar check.
(d) Thesaraus and grammar check.

3. Why doesn't he simply cross out clutter?
(a) Because highlighting is easier to see.
(b) Because it uses too much ink to cross out than to bracket.
(c) Because underlining is easier on the eyes.
(d) So that his students will learn to recognize clutter.

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

5. What are some limitations of perfect grammar?
(a) Lack of expressionism when grammar is perfect.
(b) Some writers don't have perfect grammar and therefore cannot get published.
(c) Hindering points, establishing author moods, and painting word pictures.
(d) Good grammer makes for boring writing.

6. What is Zinsser's preferred method for interviewing?
(a) He likes to use pens and markers.
(b) He likes to use pencils and paper.
(c) He likes audio recorders.
(d) He doesn't use anything. He just listens.

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

8. What should the lead in the first sentence do for a reader?
(a) It should be very basic to hook in all types of readers.
(b) It should tell the reader very little about the article, so he or she will continue reading.
(c) It should introduce the article informatively and let the reader know it will be a good read.
(d) It should capture the reader and force him or her to keep reading.

9. What does Zissner think of gimmicky writing?
(a) It is worth a try to sell a book or article.
(b) It never works.
(c) It is the secret to selling a book.
(d) It is what gets writers through the door.

10. What attitude should writers embrace towards their editors?
(a) Don't worry about the editor because you should please your audience first.
(b) Worry only about the editor in order to get published.
(c) Don't worry about pleasing them initially.
(d) Worry about the editor and the readers. They will buy and sell your books.

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

12. What other group of people uses euphemisms or fad terms?
(a) Doctors.
(b) State employees.
(c) Business writers.
(d) Musicians.

13. What are the two components of the original Roget's Thesaurus?
(a) Antonyms with very in depth definitions.
(b) A dictionary of antonyms, and one of synonyms.
(c) A dictionary listing of words, and a numberd section with synonyms arranged in broad concepts.
(d) A list of synonyms and their definitions with pictures on one side.

14. How rigid are the lines between proper and improper English usage?
(a) They are very soft, and not rigid at all.
(b) They are very rigid and one cannot cross the line.
(c) There is a grey area, though the need for proper English is most important.
(d) There are no lines at all. Every writer has a poetic license to do with words what he or she pleases.

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

Short Answer Questions

1. Who is the author talking to at the beginning of the book?

2. Does the author believe good writing is the result of an inherent talent?

3. Who are two authors that Zissner admires for solid writing and ornamentation?

4. How does Zinsser approach unusual words?

5. What does the etymology of words mean?

(see the answer keys)

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