Technical Communication:
Mechanics of Writing (Read Me First! 1)

Answer the questions in this quiz to see how well you've read and understood the chapter. Feel free to look up answers in the book and retake this quiz until you get all the answers right. (Lots of questions here, but they are quick and perennial points of confusion.)

This quiz is based on Read Me First! A Style Guide for the Computer Industry by Sun Technical Publications (Prentice-Hall, 2003). ISBN: 0-13-142899-3.

When you're through, just click on Check answers to check your answers. If you want to start over, just click on Clear & restart.

Your name Your handle (use the exact same handle
you created in the questionnaire)
Your e-mail (if you want your
results e-mailed to you)
  1. Which of the following is a good test for proper nouns and thus when to use capital letters?
    Use caps if the words are important in the context.
    If a limiting word appears before the word (or words) or if a limiting word could be used in front of the word (or words).
    If no limiting word appears before the word (or words) or if no limiting word could be used in front of the word (or words).
  2. Should you capitalize the first letter (init-cap) of the first word of list items?
    Yes
    No
  3. Should you init-cap references to specific book parts like index, preface chapter, index?
    Yes
    No
  4. How should you treat references to individual letters of the keyboard?
    Capital letter
    Lowercase letter
  5. Should you init-cap the second word of phrases like "built-in component" or "surface-mount technology" when used in headings?
    Yes, in all cases.
    No, never.
    Yes, if the second word is not an article or preposition.
  6. How should you treat names of buttons and switches on hardware?
    Init cap
    All-caps
    Lowercase entirely
    As shown on the device
  7. Should you use contractions?
    Never because nonnative readers of English have trouble with contractions
    Always because contractions save space
    Only using guidelines stated in this chapter
  8. How does Sun want you to capitalize material after a colon?
    Never use a capital letter.
    Always use a capital letter.
    Use lowercase on the first word after the colon only when the material is not a complete sentence.
    Use init cap on the first word after the colon only when the material is not a complete sentence.
  9. Should you begin a sentence with a numeral; if a sentence contains a numeral like 46 and another like four, should you use a word for four?
    Yes; yes
    No; no
    Yes; no
    No; yes
  10. Should you spell out chapter or section numbers?
    Yes, but only if they are less than 10.
    No, always use numerals.
    Yes, always spell them out.
  11. Should you use comma in a 4-digit numeral? in a 5-digit numeral?
    No; yes
    No; no
    Yes; no
    Yes; yes
  12. Should you use Latin abbreviations?
    No
    Yes
  13. Which is correct for the plural of CPU?
    CPUs
    CPU's
  14. Which is correct?
    Use a Universal System Bus (USB)...
    Use a universal system bus (USB)...
    Use a USB (Universal System Bus)...
    Use a USB (universal system bus)...
  15. Should you put a space between numbers and abbreviations (for example, 2cm or 2 cm)?
    Always
    Never
    Yes, but only if they function as a compound modifier.
    Yes, except when they function as a compound modifier.
    Yes, except when industry standards want them "solid."
  16. Which of the following is correct?
    In my grocery basket are apples, oranges, and lemons.
    In my grocery basket are: apples, oranges, and lemons.
    In my grocery basket are; apples, oranges, and lemons.
    In my grocery basket are apples, oranges and lemons.
    In my grocery basket are: apples, oranges and lemons.
    In my grocery basket are; apples, oranges and lemons.
  17. Which of the following is correct?
    Enter your ID code when the system prompts you.
    Enter your ID code, when the system prompts you.
  18. Which of the following is correct?
    When the system prompts you enter your ID code.
    When the system prompts you, enter your ID code.
  19. Which of the following contains a compound modifier?
    Don't forget to back up your work!
    Where did you put your backup of your work?
    Are you using a reliable backup procedure?
  20. Which of the following is correct?
    When you print out that document, could you bring me a copy of that print out?
    When you printout that document, could you bring me a copy of that printout?
    When you print out that document, could you bring me a copy of that printout?
    When you printout that document, could you bring me a copy of that print out?
  21. Which is correct according to Sun?
    Press Ctrl+A.
    Press Ctrl-A.
    Press Ctrl A.
  22. Which of the following is correct?
    database; e-mail
    data base; e-mail
    data-base; e-mail
    database; email
    data-base; email
    data base; email
  23. Which of the following contains an open compound noun used as a modifier?
    How many data types does this programming language define?
    This program uses built-in data.
    Please link to this data type definition in your file.
    What are the specifications for this server?
  24. How do you treat references to chapter titles in text?
    Italicize them.
    Enclose them double quotation marks.
    Make them all-caps.
    Just use initials caps.
  25. How do you treat words used in an odd way: for example, the system has a leak.
    Italicize them.
    Enclose them double quotation marks.
    Make them all-caps
    Just use initials caps.
    Don't use any special punctuation or typography.
  26. Should you use semicolons according to Sun?
    No, never.
    Yes, but only to separate short independent clauses.
    Yes, but only to separate short independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions.
    Yes, but only to separate short independent clauses joined by conjunctive adverbs.
    No, except for short independent clauses joined by coordinating conjunctions.
  27. Should you use a slash in a situation like this: inventory the devices/peripherals on your system?
    No
    Yes
  28. Which of the following lists examples of coordinating conjunctions and then examples of conjunctive adverbs?
    and, or, but; however, therefore, on the other hand
    however, therefore, on the other hand; and, or, but
    and, or, but; because, although, when
    however, therefore, on the other hand; because, although, when
  29. Which of the following correctly states usage rules for em dashes and en dashes?
    For ranges and minus signs; before and after an appositive series.
    Before and after an appositive series; for ranges and minus signs.
  30. How do you show abbreviations for megabyte and megabit?
    MB; Mb
    Mb; MB

   

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