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 gives nonfiction books life?
(a) The cover of the book.
(b) White lies that sell certain facts.
(c) Humanity and warmth.
(d) Pure hard facts.

2. Why does he recommend starting in the preferred tense?
(a) It makes it easier for people to relate to.
(b) It creates a teacher student relationship.
(c) It brings out the natural voice.
(d) It causes writer's to think about the reader.

3. What is the old view of nonfiction?
(a) That it is only journalism which isn't a respectable form of writing.
(b) That it is the only respectable form of writing.
(c) That it is all commentary that means nothing to anyone but the writer.
(d) That it is the best form of writing because it is factual and real.

4. Can good writing be taught?
(a) Of course it can.
(b) Only good teachers can teach good writing.
(c) It cannot, but it can be learned.
(d) Only good students can learn good writing.

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

Short Answer Questions

1. Does skipping grammar check save a writer time?

2. What happens when the reader loses interest in the writing?

3. What is an example of a hit book that was rejected several times?

4. What is a dash useful for?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the major problem with American writing in terms of simplicity?

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

3. What happens to the reader when he or she reads cluttered writing?

4. What are some examples of bad writing that has to be read?

5. Why are interviews so important to an article?

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

7. When can grammar rules be broken?

8. What is unity in writing?

9. Does Zinsser believe it is important for an author's personality to shine through his or her writing?

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

(see the answer keys)

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