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 purpose of colons?
(a) Colons are used to explain sentences.
(b) They are good to use in place of quotations for dialogue.
(c) They can be used to separate a sentance and start another without having to capitalize the first word.
(d) To start out a list of things without using list form.

2. What is a common problem with nonfiction writers?
(a) They tend to write confusing articles that do not interest anyone.
(b) They don't research enough.
(c) They want to be the final experts and turn away viable information that would change their articles.
(d) Nonfiction writers tend to want to say the last word on a subject, which covers too much ground.

3. What should every paragraph end with?
(a) All paragraphs should end with a summary of the entire paragraph.
(b) Every paragraph should end with a period.
(c) Every paragraph needs to have a hook or a cliffhanger that will lead the reader into the next paragraph.
(d) All paragraphs should repeat the first sentence.

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

5. Who are two authors that Zissner admires for solid writing and ornamentation?
(a) Sylvia Plath and Jane Austen.
(b) Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe.
(c) Virginia Woolfe and Sylvia Plath.
(d) Normal Mailer and Virginia Wolfe.

Short Answer Questions

1. How much research does Zinsser recommend for an article?

2. What makes a good first sentence?

3. Chapter 3 is about __________.

4. Who do authors please first with their writing?

5. Why is consistency in verb tense so important?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why are writers fearful to insert their own opinions, ideas, and judgments in their own writing?

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

4. What does Zinsser make of this distinction of fiction versus nonfiction in the literary world?

5. What does the surgeon in Chapter 1 think about writing?

6. Why does Zinsser use brackets on students' papers?

7. Why are thesauri so good for brainstorming?

8. Do gimmicks usually work in good writing?

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

10. How do you know when an article is a failure?

(see the answer keys)

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