On Writing Well Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

William Zinsser
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What is the biggest mistake a writer can make when creating sentences?
(a) Overediting sentences.
(b) Packing in too much information into one sentence.
(c) Not creating sentences that readers want to read.
(d) Not reading their sentences aloud.

2. What is one of Zissner's biggest pet peeves?
(a) When people leave the toilet seat up.
(b) When people say they can write a book as if it is easy.
(c) When people dog ear the pages of a book.
(d) When people write in their books.

3. What is a major job of a nonfiction writer?
(a) Majoring in the subject they will write about.
(b) Learning as much as possible about a subject before taking on a project.
(c) Conducting interviews with people who know about the writing project subject.
(d) Taking on a project with a clean slate. Just like a jury in a legal battle.

4. Does Zissner believe in the journalism model for good writing?
(a) Yes, it is efficient and catchy.
(b) No, journalism is dead and the writing is poor.
(c) Yes, it saves space and uses modern words.
(d) No because journalists use cheap words and buzz words.

5. What has literature transformed into?
(a) Literature is still mainly novels,and very rarely includes other writing.
(b) Literature has not transformed at all.
(c) Literature now includes nonfiction and fiction alike.
(d) Literature now includes poetry.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who is the real audience in a piece of writing?

2. What should every paragraph end with?

3. What happens when a writer writes in unclear ways?

4. How does a thesaurus help with brainstorming?

5. What period in U.S. history does Zissner point out as a time filled with euphemisms?

Short Essay Questions

1. When can some writers break grammar rules?

2. Writers are told to study the market before submitting pieces. Why is this advice irrelevant?

3. Why does Zinsser avoid using journalism as a model for good writers?

4. Why are rhythm and sound important in writing? What should writers do to improve this aspect of their writing?

5. Who does Zinsser say are the worst writers guilty of clutter?

6. Why do writers have a hard time starting at the "true beginning?"

7. When is it acceptable for a new word to enter the English languages American Heritage Dictionary? Can you give an example?

8. Why does Zinsser advise against using exclamation points for astonishment?

9. What do all good writers do when it comes to improving?

10. What are Zinsser's thoughts on the writing profession?

(see the answer keys)

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