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 changing all the time?
(a) It changes because it is a living language.
(b) It changes because people don't know how to speak it properly and are changing the way it is spoken.
(c) It changes because of regional differences that make their way outwards.
(d) It changes because academics choose the best ways to speak English and try to teach that to children.

2. When does the writing start for a nonfiction article?
(a) It starts when the interviewing process and research is complete.
(b) It starts whenever the writer is ready to start.
(c) It starts before interviewing to set up the article paragraphs.
(d) It starts before the interview but after the research.

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

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

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

6. Does the author believe good writing is the result of an inherent talent?
(a) Yes, people are born to write.
(b) No, the craft always gets better with time.
(c) A good writer
(d) No, good writers have to be taught.

7. Why does the doctor write?
(a) He writes for fun.
(b) He writes to make extra money.
(c) He writes because he hates being a surgeon.
(d) He is writing a book.

8. What is a natural inclination for writers when they start a piece?
(a) Writers assume readers know nothing about what they are writing about.
(b) They don't give enough background information.
(c) They assume the readers know what they are writing about.
(d) They ramble through an unnecessary introduction.

9. When can ornamental writing be used as an exception?
(a) When the author needs to abide by editors remarks.
(b) When writing evaluations and resumes.
(c) When the wrting needs extra fluff.
(d) To follow solid writing.

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

11. What is another example of when a person HAS to read bad writing?
(a) Literature anthologies.
(b) Instruction manuals.
(c) Political Journals.
(d) Television captions.

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

13. What does Zissner use to highlight clutter in his students' writing?
(a) Stars.
(b) Underlines.
(c) Highlighter.
(d) Brackets

14. What is an example of a time when bad writing HAS to be read?
(a) Corporate memos or technical writing.
(b) In English class.
(c) In the newspaper.
(d) Online writing.

15. 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 connect complex sentences.
(c) Dashes are good in place of exclamations.
(d) Dashes are good to separate thoughts.

Short Answer Questions

1. What ability do great authors have?

2. Can a writer's style be affected to the reader?

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

4. What is the old view of nonfiction?

5. What is Zissner's point of view on the debate between literature and journalism?

(see the answer keys)

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