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 problem with American writing?
(a) It isn't complex enough.
(b) The writing is too sloppy.
(c) Americans are bad at fact checking.
(d) It is too complex.

2. What attitude should writers embrace towards their editors?
(a) Worry only about the editor in order to get published.
(b) Don't worry about pleasing them initially.
(c) Don't worry about the editor because you should please your audience first.
(d) Worry about the editor and the readers. They will buy and sell your books.

3. Why does the doctor write?
(a) He writes because he hates being a surgeon.
(b) He writes for fun.
(c) He writes to make extra money.
(d) He is writing a book.

4. How does a writer become better at his craft?
(a) By avoiding trashy novels.
(b) By taking initiative to improve every day.
(c) By taking a writing class.
(d) By reading everything.

5. Why do Americans have trouble writing?
(a) They do too much and slack on their writing.
(b) They are not complex enough.
(c) They are bad at fact checking.
(d) Their minds are too cluttered.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is unity in writing?

2. How does Zinsser approach unusual words?

3. Who is the author talking to at the beginning of the book?

4. Has the period of political euphemisms improved since the Vietnam War?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does the English language change all the time? Can you give an example of a language that never changes and why?

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

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

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

5. When can grammar rules be broken?

6. In what point of view should a writer start writing? Why?

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

8. Why are thesauri so good for brainstorming?

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

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

(see the answer keys)

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