How to Make a College Paper Longer

Frustrated student writing paper

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Need to make a paper longer but out of ideas? Forget fudging the margins and font or even the legendary "period trick." These 6 tips will make your paper longer—and better!

Avoid the Old, Obvious Tricks

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 and then some. Since you need to make your paper longer, not worse, skip the easy stuff and focus on the content.

Cite a Few Sources

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.)

Add Some Examples to Your Paper

Add an additional example to each paragraph/argument/idea. If you can't add more quotations, add more examples to support your position. Think about more ways to make your point by showing—not just telling—the reader.

Check Your Paragraph Format

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 three 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.

See If You Can Prove Yourself Wrong

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.

Make Sure Your Paper Structure Is Solid

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 (stellar conclusion) is a great way to make sure your paper is all-around better—and longer!

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Your Citation
Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "How to Make a College Paper Longer." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Lucier, Kelci Lynn. (2020, August 25). How to Make a College Paper Longer. Retrieved from Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "How to Make a College Paper Longer." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).

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