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How to Make an Essay Longer

October 2020

48

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Article by Elizabeth Bankston

Article by Elizabeth Bankston

Elizabeth Bankston is our staff blog contributor and the mastermind behind our content marketing efforts. Having spent 6 years at the University of Richmond, she now puts to practice her leadership skills and humanities knowledge to show students how to study more effectively and successfully.

Most prompts are calling for a short essay with a limited word count and ask you to speak your mind in “500 words or less”. However, being laconic is not always an advantage. Sometimes, teachers specifically ask you to write five pages on some obscure topic to measure the diligence of your research. Information being scarce and deadline flying towards you like a cannonball, you may start to ask yourself “How to make my essay longer without sitting in a library for another weekend?”
Fortunately, there are ways to make your essay longer in word count and in appearance without too much work. We have gathered all the tips and hacks that students have tried and tested over the years.

How to Make Your Essay Look Longer

Here are some cunning tricks that will help your essay to appear more robust than it is. They may come in handy if you aren’t interested in working with your text, and simply want to know how to make an essay seem longer without actually adding anything to it.

Larger Font Classics

If you are allowed to submit your essay printed out instead of a digital copy, you can pull it off. As a rule, formatting standards for academic papers require you to submit your work in Times New Roman. However, there are fonts that look very much like Times New Roman, except they are slightly larger (Bookman Old Style is just one such example). No one will notice the difference at a glance, but it will give you a boost in volume without any hassle.

Boost the Font Size

Of course, anyone with minimum knowledge of word processors knows this obvious trick. You can use the larger font size. However, a teacher’s trained eye spots it miles away. You can try to implement it, but you have to be very sneaky to succeed. Specify the desired increase manually and make it anywhere between +0.1 and +0.5 – but no more, otherwise it will be too obvious.

Make Essay Longer: Period Trick

This brilliant hack will add several lines per page. All you have to do is to replace all periods and commas in your text with slightly larger and italicized ones. This is done in seconds. Just go to “Find and Replace” and put “.” in the “Find” box. In the “Replace” field, choose “Format” and go to the “Font” settings. Then, select a font size that is 1-2 pt. larger than your overall text and italicize it. For example, your text is 12 pt. Then, your periods must be 14 pt. and in italic.
The result will make your eyes pop. Now go and do the same for all your commas. Amazing, isn’t it?

Adjust the line spacing

This is another tried method that became too obvious due to student abuse. However, it is still effective if you are discreet and not too greedy. As a rule, the spacing between the lines is a fixed value given in your formatting details. However, you can boost is slightly. For example, if your paper must be single-spaced, you can make it 1.1 or 1.2 and get away with it. Go to “Format” –> choose “Paragraph” –> in “Line Spacing” select “Multiple” and adjust the “By” factor to 1.1 (or 1.2 but no more).

Adjust the character spacing

This one is really neat because it employs thousands of tiny tweaks that crop up for a substantial result. Character spacing trick is used less than line spacing, but that is because it is hidden deeper in the menu. To adjust the spacing between the characters in your essay, go to the “Font” menu, choose “Advanced”, then select “Spacing” and “Expanded”. Then put 1.2 in the “By” field. You can go up to 1.5, but that’s edging on the obvious, so be careful.

Margins, footer, running head

Using the same discretion as above, you can slightly increase the right and bottom margins in your essay. To the same effect, you can add page numbers in the footer and the running head, which automatically increases the top margin to fit in. All this combined significantly shrinks the place available per page and spreads your text over more pages.
By the way, the running head is an APA style requirement, so you don’t have an excuse to add it. Be reasonable, however, because running head only makes sense in a longer paper with multiple pages.

How to Make an Essay Longer With Words

Those were the tips on how to make an essay appear longer without adding any new words to make an essay longer in reality. Now let’s suppose that your assignment specified word count instead of a number of pages. What can you do then?

heck If You Have Said Everything You Meant To

Are you sure, there is nothing else you can add? Go back to your assignment and go over the original prompt. Have you answered all the questions it posed? Have you used all the recommended materials? Have you approached your argument from the right angle?
Try writing a plan to your essay (that is sometimes called “reverse outlining”) and see if there are any gaps in your reasoning. Maybe there are some details that you meant to include but forgot eventually.

Give more definitions

Providing definitions of the key concepts that you operate in an essay is a good practice, so why don’t you employ it for making the essay longer?
If you have already defined all the terms, add alternative definitions and compare them. Make an argument of which one serves the purpose of your research better or is the most relevant and up-to-date.

Add supporting evidence and examples

If you have exhausted your arguments, you can still back them up with more concrete evidence and illustrious examples. This is particularly useful for persuasive essays where every example can be expanded to a narrative. However, examples can be easily employed in other types of papers.

Throw in a quote or three

Use quotes to support your argument. Don’t cut them short, don’t paraphrase them, and cite them properly. If you style them as quotes in your word processor, they will also take up more space. This doesn’t impact the word count but is a nice bonus anyway.

Paraphrase

Instead of using one word, you can use several to convey the same idea. For example, instead of writing “my roommate Claire” you can write “Clair, a nice girl I share a room in the dorm suite with”. That’s thirteen words in place of only three!
Don’t be too overzealous, however. Otherwise, you risk making your paper too wordy and your instructor will take the points off for lack of clarity.

Restore abbreviations

Abbreviations were invented to make things shorter, therefore they are your enemies in this quest for lengthiness. Don’t write “WHO” – write “World Health Organization”. Don’t write, “USA” – write “the United States of America”. That alone will give you three to five words where you had only one.

Eliminate contractions

Although academic style forbids contractions in the first place, there is a chance you have used some just out of habit. Make sure you have ditched all the “it’s” and “don’ts”. To scan your essay for contractions, use the “Find” menu and put the apostrophe in the search box.
With any luck, now your essay is beefed up to be twice the initial size, but we cannot guarantee that all these tricks will work the second time – not with the same teacher anyway.
Next time you get some hopeless topic for an assignment, better ask us for help. We provide custom papers for college that are always the right length, concise, perfectly formatted to meet academic standards (no tricks!), and on time for the deadline. Save yourself the trouble and leave it to the professionals!

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