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How to Make a Paper Longer

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Need to make a paper longer but out of ideas? Forget fudging the margins and font or the legendary "period trick." These 6 ways will make your paper longer -- and better.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. First and foremost, know that your professor most likely knows about all of the "easy" tricks -- and can spot 'em. Changing the font, changing the margins, doing the "period trick," and tons of other sneaky ways to make your paper longer have all been done before. Since you need to make your paper longer, not worse, skip the easy stuff and focus on the content.
  2. Add additional quotations to support your examples. If your paper is good, you'll have examples to support your thesis. To make your paper even better (and longer), make sure you have at least one quotation from the text -- if not more -- to support your examples. (And be careful about citing your quotations accurately, too.)
  3. Add an additional example to each paragraph/argument/idea. If you can't add more quotations, add more examples to support your position.
  4. Make sure each paragraph has a topic sentence, supporting evidence, and a concluding/transition sentence. Of course, each paragraph should have more than just these 3 sentences, but you might be surprised at how easily each can be left off -- and how much longer your paper can become if you go back through and insert missing items where needed.
  5. Think about the arguments against your thesis -- and then make sure you've addressed those points. Sure, you may have good arguments for your position. But what would someone holding the opposite position say? And what would you say in response? Making sure those responses are already included in your paper is a great way to make sure you've covered all the bases -- and a great way to add some length if your paper is a little shorter than you'd like.
  6. Confirm and reconfirm that you have a strong introduction, thesis statement, and conclusion. Although you may be focused on the body of your paper and the evidence supporting your position, having a strong intro, thesis, and conclusion are important, too. Making sure your paper starts with a bang (good intro), has a solid foundation to stand on (strong thesis), and leaves the reader convinced (rock star conclusion) is a great way to make sure your paper is all-around better (and longer!).
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