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. Why is it important to narrow down a nonfiction piece?

2. What are the best aspects of a good story?

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

4. When should a writer choose the point of view in a piece of writing?

5. Why doesn't he simply cross out clutter?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What are Zinsser's thoughts on the writing profession?

6. How much information should a writer gather before writing a piece? Why is it important?

7. Why are journalists good about de-cluttering their writing?

8. Why are thesauri so good for brainstorming?

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

10. Why is nonfiction now considered to be literature?

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

How have you heard the Eiffel Tower described? Regardless of whether you've seen it or not, describe it a different way, positive or negative. Avoid cliches.

Essay Topic 3

What type of writing should not be changed and why? What are some ways to better industry standards, where wording needs to remain uniform?

(see the answer keys)

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