Online Technical Writing: Chapter Quiz—Definitions

Answer the questions in this quiz to see how well you've read and understood the chapter. Feel free to link back and forth between the chapter on definitions and this quiz to check your answers.

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  1. In the online textbook, the term definition is used to mean:
    A description of an object, mechanism, place, or organism
    An account of how something works or happens—the events in that process
    An explanation of what a potentially unfamiliar term means
  2. You can use short definitions to provide quick, on-the-fly explanations of the meanings of potentially unfamiliar words. Which of the following contains a short definition?
    Approximately 5% of the U.S. population over 65 have severe dementia, while another 10% have mild to moderate impairment of memory and cognition. Of these demented individuals, approximately 40 to 50% have Alzheimer's disease, making it the most common cause of dementia in middle and later life.
    Life on earth is possible because there is liquid water, a blanket of life-supporting gases, and a climate neither too warm nor too cold. Human beings may now be altering this balance by adding unusual amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This could make the global climate warmer than at any other time in human history. And this change would be irreversible.
    The output produced by a computer program may contain error messages, which indicate the presence of errors in the program. These messages are generated by the computer system to help the programmer in correcting these errors, also known as bugs. Severe errors can cause the processing to be terminated (aborted).
  3. The online textbook presents the formal sentence definition as another method of defining terms. Which of the following contains a formal sentence definition?
    Stress is a measure of the internal reaction between elementary particles of a material in resisting separation, compacting, or sliding that tend to be induced by external forces.
    The resisting forces within the material are made up of continuously distributed normal and tangential forces that are of varying magnitude and direction and act on elementary areas throughout the material.
    These forces can be distributed uniformly or nonuniformly and can be categorized as tensile, compressive, or shearing, according to the straining action.
  4. In the formal sentence definition in the preceding question, which word or phrase acts as the term element?
    Forces
    Material
    Measure
    Stress
    Strain
    Compressive strain
    Tensile strain
    Shearing strain
  5. In the formal sentence definition in the preceding question, which word or phrase acts as the class or category element?
    Forces
    Material
    Measure
    Stress
    Strain
    Compressive strain
    Tensile strain
    Shearing strain
  6. In the formal sentence definition in the preceding question, which word or phrase acts as the characteristics element?
    between elementary particles of a material in resisting separation, compacting, or sliding that tend to be induced by external forces
    are made up of continuously distributed normal and tangential forces that are of varying magnitude and direction and act on elementary areas throughout the material
    can be categorized as tensile, compressive, or shearing, according to the straining action
  7. When you write an extended definition (a paragraph or more in length), you should put which of the following at or very near the beginning?
    Formal sentence definition of the term
    Technical description of the term
    An audience definition
    List of the primary, or distinguishing characteristics of the term
  8. Take a look at the following paragraphs. Which is the best example of an extended definition?
    The Internet is a collection of electronic links that connects every computer within that collection to every other computer in that collection. Computer linked to this system of links (that are "on the Internet") can communicate with every other computer on that same system, send e-mail, make resources available, and even provide remote facilities.
    To transfer a file across the Internet, you must first get "on line" through some sort of modem or cable connection, then log in to some provider of Internet facility, use the ftp command to start the file transfer session, link into the Internet computer you want to send file to or get files from, and then issue the actual send or get command.
    The internet began as a Defense Department project to link military sites for security purposes. Because the internet has no main controlling center, a nuclear strike cannot wipe all of it out at once. With time, the Internet came to be used more by defense research and by university-related concerns. Eventually, the military shed its role in the Internet, and the Internet developed increasingly toward the general-use vehicle we know today.
  9. As explained in the online textbook, extended definitions require a special approach to content and organization, very different from what you find in descriptions, comparisons, and process discussions. Which of the following statements is true about the contents and organization of an extended definition?
    Definitions are organized by steps or parts, whereas the others organize their content depending on the thing being discussed.
    Definitions organize their contents according to the characteristics of the thing being defined, whereas the others use organizational elements such as parts, points of comparison, or steps.
    Definitions use the other kinds of writing (such as description, process, comparison, or process discussion) in whatever way works best to define the term; whereas the others use organizational elements such as parts, points of comparison, or steps.
  10. In the online textbook, the materials used to discuss the meaning of the term being defined are called:
    Sources of definition
    Short definitions
    Formal sentence definitions
    Sources of description
    Description
  11. The next questions are based on the following extended definition:

    The so-called greenhouse effect is an atmospheric process by which a portion of the sun's heat is trapped within the earth's atmosphere, making the earth's surface warmer than it would otherwise be. Life on earth is possible because there is liquid water, a blanket of life-supporting gases, and a climate neither too warm nor too cold. Human beings may now be altering this balance by adding unusual amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This could make the global climate warmer than at any other time in human history. And this change would be irreversible.

    The atmosphere contains 75% nitrogen, 23% oxygen, with argon, water vapor, and trace gases--including carbon dioxide--making up the remaining 2%. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas which constitutes about 0.035% by volume of the atmosphere but whose significance far exceeds its relative scarcity. It is essential for photosynthesis, the process by which the sun's energy is converted into forms usable by plants and animals. It also helps regulate the critical heat balance of the planet, thus maintaining liquid water.

    Carbon dioxide affects the heat balance by acting as a one-way screen. It is transparent to incoming visible sunlight and allows the sun's heat to warm the ocean and the land. But carbon-dioxide molecules block some of the infrared heat radiated back into space. This reflected heat is absorbed into the lower atmosphere. This is the so-called greenhouse effect . . .

  12. Which of the following words is the entire paragraph devoted to defining?
    Carbon dioxide
    Greenhouse effect
    Photosynthesis
    Earth's atmosphere
  13. The excerpt discusses the way in which the sun's energy is converted into food for plants and animals and the way in which carbon dioxide handle incoming and outgoing radiation. What type of writing does the online textbook call this?
    Definition
    Extended definition
    Description
    Process discussion
  14. The excerpt discusses how the atmosphere is made up of various gases and gives some details about carbon dioxide. What type of writing does the online textbook call this?
    Definition
    Extended definition
    Description
    Process discussion
  15. The paragraph provides short definitions for which of the following sets of words?
    Atmosphere
    Nitrogen
    Infrared heat
    Photosynthesis
    Carbon dioxide
    Climate
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