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. Who is the author talking to at the beginning of the book?
(a) He is talking with his editor.
(b) He is talking to his mother.
(c) He is presenting to student writers at a Connecticut school.
(d) He is talking to his wife.

2. When does the writing start for a nonfiction article?
(a) It starts when the interviewing process and research is complete.
(b) It starts before interviewing to set up the article paragraphs.
(c) It starts whenever the writer is ready to start.
(d) It starts before the interview but after the research.

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

4. Should exclamation points be used in serious writing?
(a) They should be used sparingly. One per paragraph is fine.
(b) Only serious writing has serious exclamation points. How else would people understand astonishment?
(c) They should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
(d) They should be sprinkled into paragraphs like salt and pepper. The more the better.

5. What is Zinsser's preferred method for interviewing?
(a) He likes to use pens and markers.
(b) He doesn't use anything. He just listens.
(c) He likes audio recorders.
(d) He likes to use pencils and paper.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why should interview questions be written before the interview?

2. When can ornamental writing be used as an exception?

3. Why does he recommend starting in the preferred tense?

4. Good writing is ______________.

5. What is a common problem with nonfiction writers?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why are thesauri so good for brainstorming?

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

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

4. Why is it important for writers to maintain unity throughout a piece? Three things are vitally important.

5. Do gimmicks usually work in good writing?

6. When can some writers break grammar rules?

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

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

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

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

(see the answer keys)

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