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.

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  1. Which of the following is the best definition of the word "jargon"?
    Writing that is wordy, pompous, and inconsistent, causing the text to be much longer than it needs to be.
    Writing that is unclear, confusing.
    Writing that contains specialized terminology known only to experts in that subject matter.
    Writing that uses the passive voice and future tense unnecessarily.
  2. What's the guideline on passive voice?
    Never use the passive voice — ever.
    Use the passive voice when the performer of the action is unknown or unimportant.
    Use the passive voice to avoid sexist language and unnecessary future tense.
  3. What should you do with compound sentences joined "and"?
    Make them two separate sentences.
    Convert them from active voice to passive voice whenever possible.
    Revise them so that one of the independent clause is subordinated to the other.
  4. Which of the following correctly describes nonrestrictive clauses?
    They are introduced with "that," contain essential information, and are not punctuated.
    They are introduced with "which," contain essential information, and are not punctuated.
    They are introduced with "that," contain nonessential information, and are not punctuated.
    They are introduced with "which," contain nonessential information, and are punctuated.
    They are introduced with "that," contain nonessential information, and are punctuated.
  5. Which of the following correctly describes restrictive clauses?
    They are introduced with "that," contain essential information, and are not punctuated.
    They are introduced with "which," contain essential information, and are not punctuated.
    They are introduced with "that," contain nonessential information, and are not punctuated.
    They are introduced with "which," contain nonessential information, and are punctuated.
    They are introduced with "that," contain nonessential information, and are punctuated.
  6. What should you do if there are multiple ways to perform a task?
    Explain the best method.
    Explain all of the methods.
  7. What advice does this chapter give in relation to cross-references?
    Too many cross-references confuse and frustrate readers; just supply the relevant information on the spot rather than pointing readers to it elsewhere in the document.
    Assume readers have not read anything else in the document, and cross-reference accordingly.
    Always use "above" to point to preceding information and "below" to point to following information.
  8. What should you do if you must refer to a singular noun, such as "system administrator," with a pronoun?
    Use "they," "them," or "their."
    Use some form of "s/he."
    Convert the noun to a plural and use some form of "they."
    Use "his or her," "him or her," "he or she," or "himself or herself."
  9. Just what is an "anthropomorphism"?
    Attributing human characteristics, motivation, or behavior to inanimate objects.
    Using clumsy, inappropriate humor.
    Hiding the human agents—actual people who perform tasks—by using passive-voice constructions.
    Attributing machine-like characteristics, motivation, or behavior to human beings.
  10. With cross-references, should you use "above" and "below"?
    Yes, this is a centuries-old convention.
    No, the material may not be physically above or below on the same page.
    Yes, but only when the material is physically above or below on the same page.
    No, such cross-references are ambiguous given the fact that different different page sizes and orientations can be used.

   

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