using words well


Using Words Well

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Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question.


1.   Which one of the following words is a verb?

A. Maintenance

B. Manufacture

C. Cruel

D. However


2.   Of the following approaches to avoiding sexism in business and technical writing, which one is likely to be most effective?

A. Avoid references to individuals.

B. Apologize for using he as a generic pronoun.

C. Use plural nouns and pronouns.

D. Use the neutral pronouns it or its.


3.   What, if anything, should you do to correct the following sentence?

Our principal problem was that we had less people than necessary to obtain optimum benefits from the program.


A. Nothing. The sentence is correct as it stands.

B. Change principal to principle.

C. Change less to fewer.

D. Change optimum to maximum.


4.   In the sentence, "The report arrived too late to be of any value to me," which word is a pronoun?

A. report

B. late

C. value

D. me


5.   Which one of the following sentences is most likely to engage a reader's self-interest?

A. You'll be happy to hear the news.

B. I have some good news to report.

C. There's some good news to report.

D. My supervisor has told me some good news.


6.   Consider the following sentence: "If you don't file your travel report on time, you can't expect a timely reimbursement for expenses." How does this sentence fail in terms of its effectiveness?

A. It fails to use a positive approach.

B. It's too indirect.

C. It's too pompous.

D. It fails to use inclusive language.


7.   In general, on what stage of the writing process should you spend most of your time?

A. Writing your first draft

B. Revising your material

C. Analyzing your audience

D. Prewriting


8.   In the sentence "Although the book was more than 50 years old, it still contained helpful information," the word Although is a(n)

A. verb.

B. preposition.

C. adjective.

D. conjunction.


9.   Which one of the following pronouns correctly completes this sentence?

The class took _______ examinations in three separate rooms.


A. its

B. their

C. his

D. your


10.   If you want to make your writing personal and direct, which one of the following pronouns should you use?

A. He

B. We

C. They

D. You


11.   Which one of the following subjects takes a plural verb?

A. Carol and Donald

B. Either you or Denise

C. The children or the teacher

D. Neither the top nor the bottom


12.   The part of speech that answers the question "which one" is a(n)

A. preposition.

B. conjunction.

C. adjective.

D. adverb.


13.   What is the best way to avoid misusing words in your business and technical writing?

A. Use only words you know.

B. Keep your sentences short.

C. Think in terms of your reader's likely vocabulary.

D. Make frequent use of a dictionary.


14.   In the sentence "Although Harry was concerned, the report that he wrote was overwhelmingly approved," what word is the antecedent of the pronoun that?

A. Harry

B. report

C. wrote

D. approved


15.   In the most general terms, your basic objective in writing a business or technical document of any kind is to convey

A. a value.

B. an idea.

C. meaning.

D. understanding.


16.   In the sentence "Do you know whose book is lying on the conference room table?" which word is a preposition?

A. whose

B. lying

C. on

D. table


17.   What type of language should you use if you're writing to a group of Ph.D.'s?

A. Plain, clear language

B. Technical jargon

C. Formal language

D. Pompous language


18.   One way to make your business or technical writing concrete is to use

A. words that evoke emotions.

B. facts and figures whenever you can.

C. as few words as possible.

D. vivid words to describe your subject.


19.   What, if anything, should you do to correct the following sentence?

He has the ability to affect the outcome, but he's not likely to take that chance.


A. Nothing. The sentence is correct as it stands.

B. Change ability to capacity.

C. Change affect to effect.

D. Change likely to liable.


20.   Which one of the following words is an example of a first-person pronoun?

A. She

B. You

C. We

D. They



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