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. What does the etymology of words mean?
(a) The biology of words.
(b) The sound of words.
(c) The history of words.
(d) The written scripts.

2. Why should interview questions be written before the interview?
(a) To avoid drawing a blank in the middle of an interview.
(b) To keep the person being interviewed on track.
(c) To focus the interview around a certain theme.
(d) To avoid having to do it at the interview.

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

4. Can good writing be taught?
(a) Only good teachers can teach good writing.
(b) Of course it can.
(c) It cannot, but it can be learned.
(d) Only good students can learn good writing.

5. What is one way of saving time?
(a) Solely relying on grammar and spell check.
(b) Not doing a story outline.
(c) Learning to write over eighty words per minute.
(d) Skipping spell check.

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

7. What is the main thing readers think when starting an article?
(a) They want to know how long it will take them to read the article.
(b) They want to know how soon they will find the answer to the original thesis question of an article.
(c) They want to know whether it is worth it to read the article.
(d) They want to know whether the writer is credible or not.

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

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

10. What is a common problem writers have?
(a) Writing too much at first.
(b) Not writing at the same time every day.
(c) Starting at the true beginning.
(d) Writing too little.

11. Why does Zissner advise his clients to worry about the marketplace last?
(a) Because the marketplace never changes.
(b) Because the marketplace always needs books and will take anything.
(c) Writing a good piece for the marketplace is easy when they know what sells.
(d) Because nobody knows what is going to sell.

12. When should a writer choose the point of view in a piece of writing?
(a) It doesn't matter when the point of view is established.
(b) A writer should determine the point of view before writing a new piece.
(c) The point of view can be determined after the writer figures out who will be the main character.
(d) THe point of view should be determined once the writing is finished and ready for editing.

13. What method of writing does Zissner use?
(a) Cluster writing.
(b) New Journalism.
(c) Bold paragraph approach.
(d) Old Journalism.

14. Why is it important to narrow down a nonfiction piece?
(a) One person cannot write an article about every aspect of something. That is what books are for.
(b) It isn't important. People just want to look at pictures anyways.
(c) It isn't that important. It just sells better to magazines to be focused.
(d) Articles should not drain the writer and reader. Focusing on a corner is better than redefining an entire room.

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What is another important characteristic of a writer?

2. What is it that the bad writers mentioned above do that makes their writing terrible?

3. What is an example of a time when bad writing HAS to be read?

4. What is the biggest mistake a writer can make when creating sentences?

5. What trap do journalists and editors fall into often?

(see the answer keys)

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