On Writing Well Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

William Zinsser
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Can a writer's style be affected to the reader?

2. What is another example of when a person HAS to read bad writing?

3. What should every paragraph end with?

4. Why do journalists need to perfect uncluttered writing?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Why does Zinsser advise against using exclamation points for astonishment?

6. When can some writers break grammar rules?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Change the rhythm of the following two sentences to a more accurate rhythm based on the words:

They walked slowly. The cars zoomed past them in an endless glow of white and red lights as they elongated their glides.

Answer: The first sentence should be elongated to give a slow pace to the sentence. The second sentence should be short and crisp. The words can be exchanged between sentences.

Essay Topic 2

Zinsser says that writers should write from their subconscious to let everything flow, then go back and hammer out all the gritty details. How often do you take this approach? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

When choosing a style of writing, what do you look for first? Do you think about the tone you want to have, the overall feel of the article, the way you want the reader to receive the article? Explain your thought process on approaching style.

(see the answer keys)

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