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 are the two components of the original Roget's Thesaurus?

2. Chapter 3 is about __________.

3. What gives nonfiction books life?

4. When can ornamental writing be used as an exception?

5. What is it that the bad writers mentioned above do that makes their writing terrible?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why are interviews so important to an article?

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

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

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

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

7. When can grammar rules be broken?

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

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

10. Do gimmicks usually work in good 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

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 3

What is clutter within an article and how does Zinsser suggest writers cut it out? Are there times when clutter would be a good think to have within a sentence or paragraph? Was it hard for you to recognize clutter within your own writing?

(see the answer keys)

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