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English Homework: Questions and Answers

  1. What exactly does Zinsser mean by “clutter” (1)? How does he believe we can free ourselves of clutter?
  2. Identify the main idea in each of the thirteen paragraphs. How is each paragraph related to Zinsser’s topic and purpose?
  3. In what ways do paragraphs 4-6 serve to illustrate the main idea of paragraph 3? (Glossary: Illustration)
  4. In paragraph 11, Zinsser says that writers must constantly ask themselves some questions. What are these questions, and why are they important?
  5.  How do Zinsser’s first and lasts paragraphs serve to introduce and conclude his essay? (Glossary: Beginnings and Endings)
  6. 6 What is the relationship between thinking and writing for Zinsser?

Answers For Study and Discussion

1) Clutter is the disease of American writing according to Zinsser.

He believes we can free ourselves of clutter by clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other. It’s impossible for a muddy thinker to write good English.


  • Clutter is the disease of American Writing.
  • The sentence is to simple, there must be something wrong with it .

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  •  The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components’) I would have preferred the presidential approach taken by Franklin D Roosevelt when he tried to convert into English his own Governments memos, such as this blackout order of 1942.
  •  Open Walden to any page and you will find a man saying in a plain and orderly way what is on his mind. F)How can the rest of us achieve such enviable freedom from clutter ?
  • Who is this elusive creature, the reader?
  •  The carelessness can take any number of forms.

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  • Readers are at first tenacious.
  • The clear writer is someone clearheaded enough to see this stuff for what it is: fuzz.
  • Thinking clearly is a conscious act that writers must force on themselves.
  • If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.
  •  Each paragraph is related to Zinsser’s topic and purpose because in each paragraph he talks about how Americans write and what a lot of faults is and also he is telling us how to write better paragraphs.

3) Paragraphs 4-6 illustrates that the president of his university wrote a letter to mollify the alumni after a spell of campus unrest. In paragraph 3 it says the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. The president did not do that.

4) What am I trying to say? Have I said it? Is it clear to someone encountering the subject for the first time? These questions are important to ask yourself when you are writing your paragraph so your reader will know what you are talking about and your paragraphs will make sense and it will be correct.

5) Zinsser’s first and lasts paragraphs serve to introduce and conclude his essay very good because he says in the beginning that Clutter is a disease of American writing and in the ending he says that if you find writing is hard, it is because you make it hard for yourself. It is up to the individual if you want to write your paragraph in proper English.

6) The relationship between thinking and writing for Zinsser is that when you are thinking you are just writing your thoughts but when you are writing for him you have to write in proper English because he does not like improper English.

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English Homework: Questions and Answers. (2016, Sep 21). Retrieved from

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