Nine Ways to Make Your English Paper Longer

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By Tucker Downs-

Use a proper MLA style heading and font: When you launch Microsoft Word or Google Docs the default font is usually Arial size 10. Not only is this not the right font but it is too small. Use Times or Georga size 12. Also, did you know that the full heading for an essay using MLA style is four lines of text? Plus, by using double spacing, the MLA standard, it takes up even more page space. Don’t forget to add in your paper’s title, underlined and centered, on its own line.

Use a really long title: Remember that in an MLA style paper your title is supposed to be on its own line. If that title is long enough to take up two lines then you have just increased the length of your paper a little bit more. Besides, how good does “A Thorough Analysis of the Self-Referencing Metaphors Found in Salvage the Bones” sound? Just remember that if your title is something crazy, your paper better be too.

Pick a simple topic: If your topic is simple enough then you should be able to find loads of long quotes to use. Better yet, if it’s something simple enough then you can write a paper with all common knowledge sources and only have to cite a couple specific quotes for your paper. Common knowledge is some generally accepted idea or a piece of information that you can easily find in five reputable sources.

Try to pick a topic that you would actually like to write about. If you are passionate about an idea it becomes a lot easier to write a bunch of pages. However, this is not always possible.

Don’t. I got a “B” in my English 120 class and I fell short of the minimum page requirements by 5 or 6 pages I think. This is rather risky but I have found that if you write fewer good pages then you can usually pass by a minimum page requirement.

Double space after periods.  Double spacing after periods has been abandoned by all of the major style guides, including MLA, APA, and AP. With that said your professor might appreciate the fact that you are using an outdated and antiquated practice.  Or they might not care that you used too many spaces. It’s not like teachers are grading papers with rulers measuring your margins and the space between sentences. Twice in this paragraph I’ve used two spaces; can you find where?

Use long words. Instead of talkative say loquacious. Instead of saying how great someone is, say that they are Honorificabilitudinitatibus. Find a way to write a paper about silicosis and refer to it by its full name — Pneumono­ultra­microscopic­silico­volcano­coniosis (which is the longest word in a major dictionary).

Use bigger punctuation. Some students swear by the old “increase the size of periods” technique. They claim that by increasing the font size of all of the punctuation in your paper you can drastically increase it’s length. Most recommended size 14. Personally I’m too lazy.

Repeat yourself, but change the words. They say that if you repeat yourself that the point you are making is more clear to the reader. I think that repetition is dumb and wasteful, but repeating something does make your paper longer. I know several students who have repeated classes and they did seem to get more out of it the second time. I once turned in a paper where I would repeat sentences and I got a decent grade on it. Repetition is a very effective way to write.

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