On Writing Well Test | Final 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 is a requirement for good literary criticism?
(a) Having a comparitive literature degress.
(b) Knowing the subject that the writer wants to write about.
(c) Frequenting the theatre often.
(d) Subscribing to arts magazines.

2. Why is it so hard to write about places?
(a) Two people never see a place the same way.
(b) It is hard to translate what the eyes see.
(c) Places change over time and it is hard to stay true to the general feel of a place.
(d) Writers tend to fall into cliches, especially when writing about well known places.

3. What do people need to understand about science?
(a) It can be learned at any point in life.
(b) It is a foundation that needs to be built upon.
(c) It is easy to understand if given the chance.
(d) Only nerds can learn it.

4. What are Zinsser's four articles of faith to writing well?
(a) Clarity, simplicity, elasticity and minimalism.
(b) Simplicity, brevity, busy sentences and proper grammer.
(c) Clarity, simplicity, brevity and humanity.
(d) Brevity, quick turnaround, clever sentences and little humanity.

5. What is a good way to edit a long story?
(a) Take a break and read it with fresh eyes.
(b) Break it into sections to make it more manageable.
(c) Have someone else read it aloud.
(d) Read it backwards.

6. What is the biggest fear that nonfiction writers have?
(a) Having their computer break, mid story, without having saved a word.
(b) Having people laugh at their article, that wasn't a humorous piece.
(c) Not being able to sell their story that they worked so hard on.
(d) Not being able to bring off an assignment and get it dont with any justice.

7. What does Zinsser think about writing memoirs?
(a) He encourages them and wants writers to stop being afraid about writing about themselves.
(b) He likes memoirs and reads them constantly.
(c) He is against memoirs and thinks writers should never write about themselves.
(d) He thinks memoirs are tacky writers.

8. What freedom does he give his students?
(a) The power to decide what to write about, what angle to take, what perspective, and what to cut out.
(b) He doesn't give deadlines, the gives very little guidance, and just lets people write and turn in first drafts.
(c) He doesn't give freedom. He is very demanding of his students.
(d) He lets everyone out early on Fridays.

9. What is an example of American television shows that use humor to talk about serious issues?
(a) The Evening News.
(b) Saturday Night Live.
(c) The Today Show.
(d) The View.

10. Where does a writer need to start to get his or her voice discovered?
(a) Read stories aloud at poetry clubs or book clubs.
(b) Go to a literary agent and ask how to get their voice out.
(c) Sign up for a talent search.
(d) A writer needs to emulate other writers and see how they utlilize their voices in their writing.

11. How does Zinsser gain an edge over his competition?
(a) He writes in an entertaining way.
(b) It is just luck and a good voice.
(c) He holds tons of interviews before writing a word.
(d) He does extensive research and is always right.

12. His article was supposed to be about his impressions of salt caravans, why didn't he write more about this?
(a) He was bored with the caravans, and would have bored his readers since he cannot fake his voice.
(b) He wasn't paying attention to the salt caravans.
(c) Salt caravans are general knowledge and he didn't want to sound cliche.
(d) He never saw the salt caravans, and this was the humor in his article.

13. What did his parents teach him that made him a fantastic writer?
(a) His mother taught him to spell, and his father taught him to write.
(b) His mother was a writer and went to career day at his school.
(c) His mother instilled in him a love and respect for good writing, and his father taught him to have a strong work ethic.
(d) HIs father took him to a field trip to a newspaper office.

14. How does Zinsser create his final products?
(a) He takes a week to read over his writing with fresh eyes.
(b) He spends hours finding the right words, best rhythms, and makes sure every sentence leads into another.
(c) He usually knows his writing is good, so he just gives everything a once over and he is done.
(d) He pawns them off to his editor which sends his writing back with red squiggles.

15. What is the problem with freelance writers and editors today?
(a) Writers never listen to their editors.
(b) Writers are pushovers and let their work become ruined.
(c) Editors are not as good as writers.
(d) Editors treat freelance writers like hired help.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is the best way to learn to write with humor?

2. Why should companies learn to produce better writing?

3. What should writers focus on when writing travel pieces?

4. Why do writers need to stick to rules?

5. What is different about every writer's voice?

(see the answer keys)

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