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 the biggest mistake a writer can make when creating sentences?

2. What makes a good first sentence?

3. Should exclamation points be used in serious writing?

4. What is the mood or voice in a piece?

5. Why do journalists need to perfect uncluttered writing?

Short Essay Questions

1. Does Zinsser believe it is important for an author's personality to shine through his or her writing?

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

3. Why are interviews so important to an article?

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

5. What is unity in writing?

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

7. When can some writers break grammar rules?

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

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

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

Essay Topic 2

Rewrite the following sentence into an ending sentence and the first sentence in the following paragraph: The car drove off the cliff. Make it compelling. Make the reader want to keep on reading.

Ex: Ending Sentence: The car sped off the cliff. First sentence next paragraph: They all survived.

Essay Topic 3

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

(see the answer keys)

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