How to Make an Essay Longer

Make Essay Longer

When you write an academic essay – whether for school or university – the teacher or lecturer often sets a word length, such as:

  • a minimum word count (for example, Write an essay of at least 1000 words on…), or
  • a range within which you can write (for example, Write an essay of between 1500 and 2000 words on…), or
  • an exact number of words (Write an essay of 2000 words on…).

There is good reason for this. Teachers want to know that you have done the research required for writing your essay, and that you have spent a considerable time applying your mind when writing it. Word lengths are often to prevent students from dashing off a few words. You’re unlikely to get you the pass mark you need if that’s your approach.

I tend to write very simply, so my writing is concise.Whenever I am faced with a word count of over 1000 words, I immediately begin to feel anxious. I find it difficult to write more than I need to say.

Do you have the same anxiety? If you do, here are some tips for making your essays longer.

Check your word count frequently

I find it useful to keep track of my word count as I write. This is easily done if you are working on computer (as most of us do these days). On Microsoft Word, just go to Tools, and then click on Word Count. This gives you the exact number of words you have written.

Review your introduction and conclusion after finishing your essay to see if you can expand them

When it comes to reading something long, most readers want a quick overview of what they are going to read. In formal texts and books, a table of contents usually provides that. Even if your essay does not require a table contents, it still needs a good introduction.

A good introduction to an academic essay clearly sets out what you are going to discuss or prove. You can either give the reader an overview of the essay, or you can tell them what’s in the essay using a summary form.

The difference between an overview and a summary is explained below:

A summary is a short statement of the main points of an argument or essay. It includes what you are going to discuss specifically, and then gives details. It explains how points relate to each other. It tends to be used most in academic contexts, but is also used in magazines and newspapers.

An overview is more general than summary. It also is used in academic contexts more than summary and has less general use in newspapers and magazines than summary does.

Compare these two introductions. The first is an overview, the second a summary:

This essay discusses the difference between humans and primates. It shows the various ways that primates are different from humans. It looks at theories of evolution and tries to explain them.

Primates are different from humans in many ways. Two fundamental differences are that their brains are smaller and they have no language.

Whether you choose to go the summary or overview route in your introduction, you need to make it meaty. The more information you give, the more your reader will feel orientated. By making understanding easy for your reader, you’ll earn some additional marks. And of course, your essay will be longer. I recommend that if your essay is too short when you have finished writing it, you look at how you can flesh out the introduction.

The same applies to writing a conclusion. The conclusion looks back over the essay, and tells the reader what they have just read. It is a restatement of the main points of the essay and how the points link. The more detail you put in the conclusion, the longer it is likely to be.

Once again, if you come to the end of your essay and are still short of word count, I recommend that you re-read to your conclusion and see if there is any more information you can add in.

Make sure you give examples to support your points

Whether you are writing a literary essay about a novel, or an essay about the star sign Pisces, you need to support any statements you make with examples.

In the case of an essay about a novel, you need to extract quotes from the book to illustrate and bolster your thoughts. So, if you claim in your essay that Darcy is portrayed as very unlikeable in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, you need to back it up with as many quotes as you can find. Here’s some great supporting material to show that Darcy is not much liked:

Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend. (3.5)

Not only does this add to the impression that you have done good research, an extra boon is that it makes your overall text longer. Again, if you are describing the positive and negative characteristics of people born under the horoscope sign of Pisces, you need to add supporting material such as:

According to the website, Pisces “are mostly generous and emotional and happen to be quite popular.These are people who value human relationships above everything and give a lot of importance to human feelings. … extremely versatile…Despite being in a group, the Pisces born people will remain completely alone and be a loner…extremely intuitive and have a latent artistic talent …tend to live in their own imaginary world.

Then add the negative traits, giving support. This is from thewebsite

Pisces have a range of negative traits, such as:

  • Highly sensitive
  • Clingy
  • Horribly indecisive
  • Lazy
  • Submissive
  • Pessimistic
  • Prone to addiction.

 I recommend that if, after you have finished writing your essay, you need more length, you go over your essay to see where you can insert more supporting material.

Pad out your words

This is perhaps not the best way of creating length in an essay, but you could do it if you are short of a few words. I would not recommend it as something to do throughout your essay, as you may appear long-winded. Here are a few tips to expanding the length of your document by padding:

  • Write names out in full rather than using acronyms. For example, use:“United States of America” instead of USA.
  • Add modifiers to your sentences. For example, instead of saying:“Set your work aside for a while”, you could say: “Set your work aside for a couple of hours or so.” Granted, it only adds four words, but if you are desperate to meet a length requirement, these could add up.
  • Use longer alternative phrases. When phrases mean the same thing, you could use the longer for. For example, instead of saying “regarding”, use“with regards to”.

Ask someone else to read your essay

This is always a good idea, even if you don’t need help to write a longer essay. It may not be that easy finding a willing victim, but if you do find one, instruct them to look at how you can make the essay longer. Hopefully, they will come up with some ideas.

To sum up:

When faced with the challenge of making an essay longer, first consider whether you can add to your introduction or conclusion. This kills two birds with one stone: you get more words, and the reader gets more clarity. You should also consider whether you can give more examples to support your content. You can pad your essay by not using acronyms, using the longer of two words that have the same meaning, or adding modifiers to your sentences. A fresh eye may be able to find places where you can add more text.


And if none of that works, I recommend that you ask your teacher or lecturer to let you off the word length hook.

Categories: Essay writing tips

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