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. Do good writers decorate their writing?
(a) No, good writers dont need ornamentation.
(b) No, only bad writers do this to sell more copies.
(c) Yes, with good punctuation.
(d) Yes, always with lots of extra words.

2. What is the response previous students have to his style of edits?
(a) They like it much better than red pen all over a paper.
(b) They hated it, and have nightmares about his style.
(c) They say then can still see the brackets.
(d) They say they never liked the highlighting.

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

4. What does it convey when anyone says he can write a book if he wanted to?
(a) It shows that there are many talented people in the world.
(b) It reveals how easy it is to write a book.
(c) It reveals the misconception that writing is easy.
(d) It shows that people are ignorant.

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

Short Answer Questions

1. What is an example of a time when bad writing HAS to be read?

2. What gives nonfiction books life?

3. What is Zinsser's preferred method for interviewing?

4. What is a dash useful for?

5. Who are two authors that Zissner admires for solid writing and ornamentation?

Short Essay Questions

1. Do gimmicks usually work in good writing?

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

3. Why are thesauri so good for brainstorming?

4. What political period was the worst as far as bad writing?

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

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

7. What becomes of a finished article that nobody reads?

8. Why does Zinsser want writers to cut out ornamental writing?

9. How much information should a writer gather before writing a piece? Why is it important?

10. When can some writers break grammar rules?

(see the answer keys)

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