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 do journalists need to perfect uncluttered writing?

2. What are some limitations of perfect grammar?

3. What attitude should writers embrace towards their editors?

4. How does Zissner have the ability to choose words for the American Heritage Dictionary?

5. Do good writers decorate their writing?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is unity in writing?

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

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

4. Why are rhythm and sound important in writing? What should writers do to improve this aspect of their writing?

5. When can some writers break grammar rules?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explain the importance of using modern words versus antiquated words in writing. Explain when it would be important to use older words versus more modern words.

Essay Topic 2

What are some industries that use corporate-speak or jargon in the majority of their writing? Why have these industries continued to use the same type of terrible writing? What can a person in the industry do to change this? Why would they be scared to change the status quo?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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