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 a Thesaurus help a writer with, besides finding alternate words?
(a) A thesaurus is a powerful stimulant to a writer's imagination.
(b) Provides easy word webs.
(c) A thesaurus can help when writing in another language.
(d) The book can help a writer become an expert in opposites.

2. What is one task that a good writer constantly does?
(a) Participates in writing workshops.
(b) Reads contemporary and classic works of other writers.
(c) Sends manuscripts out like crazy.
(d) Takes writing classes often.

3. 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.

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

5. Does skipping grammar check save a writer time?
(a) Yes, it is one less thing the writer has to do.
(b) Yes. It is uneccessary since the editor can check grammer.
(c) No. It harms the writer, and makes more work for them and the editors.
(d) No, they have to do line edits anyways to check grammar.

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

7. How rigid are the lines between proper and improper English usage?
(a) There are no lines at all. Every writer has a poetic license to do with words what he or she pleases.
(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) They are very rigid and one cannot cross the line.

8. What happens when a product of writing is never read?
(a) It gets categorized under the bad books section.
(b) It gets burned.
(c) The author's reputation is harmed.
(d) It becomes worthless and a waste of good time.

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

10. Why doesn't Zissner provide examples of these writers he admires?
(a) Because of copyright law.
(b) Because he has a word count limit to abide to.
(c) So that people will go to the library to discover the writers themselves.
(d) He didn't want their writing to prove better than his.

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

12. Why do Americans have trouble writing?
(a) They are bad at fact checking.
(b) They are not complex enough.
(c) They do too much and slack on their writing.
(d) Their minds are too cluttered.

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

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

15. What happens when a writer writes in unclear ways?
(a) They don't get published.
(b) They lose the interest of the reader.
(c) Their book gets tagged as abstract literature and nobody ever reads it.
(d) Their writing doesn't make sense.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why is consistency in verb tense so important?

2. Why is the above a problem?

3. What does Zissner think of gimmicky writing?

4. What should the lead in the first sentence do for a reader?

5. What are the two components of the original Roget's Thesaurus?

(see the answer keys)

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