On Writing Well Test | Final Test - Easy

William Zinsser
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Final Test - Easy

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What should writers focus on when writing travel pieces?
(a) Style and sentence structure.
(b) Information and substance.
(c) Substance and exaggerating adjectives.
(d) Style and substance.

2. Where did Zinsser learn how to write?
(a) From reading the New York Herald.
(b) He taught himself.
(c) He learned while he was deployed during WWII.
(d) From reading good books.

3. What do people forget about writing?
(a) It is a science that is hard to understand.
(b) It is a gift that only certain people have.
(c) It is easy and anyone can do it.
(d) It is a craft and it can be learned.

4. Writers should always look for ________________.
(a) Making places more accessible to other people.
(b) Things that relate places to another.
(c) People to tell them about a place so they don't have to actually go anywhere.
(d) The unique aspects of a place.

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

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

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

8. What does Zinsser throw away in his writing classes?
(a) Story prompts.
(b) Deadlines.
(c) Books.
(d) Story webs.

9. Is there room for opinion when writing a sports article?
(a) Writers should limit commentary and stick to the stats.
(b) There is always room for commentary.
(c) Yes. Readers trust sports writers to make sports predictions about their favorite teams.
(d) Absolutely not.

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

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. Why should companies learn to produce better writing?
(a) To get more clients to understand their terms.
(b) In a capitalistic world, there is always competition and good writing reduces it.
(c) To produce more writing jobs.
(d) To appeal to educators.

13. What type of memoirs does Zinsser like reading?
(a) He does not read memoirs.
(b) He only reads novels.
(c) He likes reading memoirs about other writers and their experiences.
(d) He likes reading immigrant memoirs.

14. Why do criticism writers have to be at a higher level than other writers?
(a) Criticism need to be stronger at literary elements because they need to recreate a scene or a song in the imagination of their readers with words only.
(b) Only those able to understand the arts can write about them, and very little people can.
(c) Criticism writers are no different. They still need to use the same basic rules of writing.
(d) Criticism is harder to write about because it tends to be less attractive than other writing.

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What is the advantage of a writer writing his or her own memoir?

2. What is a second approach Zinsser recommends that complements the first approach mentioned?

3. How is humor used in writing nonfiction?

4. What happens when writers do not stick to proper grammar rules?

5. What advice does Zinsser give to employees who want to change business writing?

(see the answer keys)

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