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 is an example of a time when bad writing HAS to be read?

2. What is an example of a hit book that was rejected several times?

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

4. Why is the above a problem?

5. What tense does Zissner recommend when starting a new piece?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Writers are told to study the market before submitting pieces. Why is this advice irrelevant?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What is the bracket method? Do you find this method useful? Compare it to crossing out.

Essay Topic 2

What are ways that politicians can better their speech writing style? What are some common political cliches you have heard recently? What is it about cliches that tend to always make it into speeches? Touch on human emotion with your response.

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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