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

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

3. Literature was once considered solely as what?
(a) Writing by only certain authors.
(b) Historical pieces.
(c) Fiction only.
(d) Great novels.

4. What does Zinsser do before submitting a piece of writing?
(a) He has his wife read his work.
(b) He reads everything aloud.
(c) He submits his writing to his family.
(d) He edits everything three times.

5. 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 assume the readers know what they are writing about.
(c) They don't give enough background information.
(d) They ramble through an unnecessary introduction.

6. What is Zissner's point of view on the debate between literature and journalism?
(a) He agrees that journalism is bad writing.
(b) He believes it doesn't matter, and that good writing is good writing.
(c) He wants to go back to the pre-WWII form of writing.
(d) He agrees that literature is the only true form of good writing.

7. What is an alternative way of showing astonishment in writing?
(a) Typing in asterisks with verbs like *gasp*.
(b) Writing in all caps.
(c) A well written sentence does not need excalamtion marks. The words themselves should be the intensity of the sentence.
(d) Writing in excessive dialogue where people and characters say they are astonished.

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

9. Can a writer's style be affected to the reader?
(a) Yes, so long as the writing is filled with rich prose.
(b) No, it has to be manipulated.
(c) Yes, so long as the writing is really dense.
(d) No, it has to be genuine.

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

11. What is the old view of nonfiction?
(a) That it is the best form of writing because it is factual and real.
(b) That it is all commentary that means nothing to anyone but the writer.
(c) That it is the only respectable form of writing.
(d) That it is only journalism which isn't a respectable form of writing.

12. 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.

13. Why is the above a problem?
(a) Writers end up editing too much.
(b) Usually the first two or three paragraphs of a piece can be cut.
(c) Writers don't put enough effort into their writing.
(d) Writers need to start at the end and work their way up.

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

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What is a common problem with nonfiction writers?

2. Has the period of political euphemisms improved since the Vietnam War?

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

4. What is the main attitude that writers have today?

5. What does Zissner think of gimmicky writing?

(see the answer keys)

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