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. What does the etymology of words mean?

2. What does reading aloud do for the writer?

3. What has literature transformed into?

4. How many people are in the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel?

5. What is an alternative way of showing astonishment in writing?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Zinsser want writers to cut out ornamental writing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Why is nonfiction now considered to be literature?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What do you think about Zinsser's point of view on the audience? Who does he feel is more important? Do you agree that a writer should ignore their potential audience and focus solely on pleasing themselves first? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

What was your definition of literature before reading this book? Has it changed or is it the same? Explain why or why not.

(see the answer keys)

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