How to Make an Essay Look Longer
It’s somewhat difficult to make demands on essays for students – demanding that they have 500 words, for example, leads to really, really, very, extremely superfluous lists of adjectives and describing words like this sentence to up the word count. Other teachers use the page count as a metric of completion. But what happens when you have 4 and a half pages done of your five page essay? There are plenty of writing techniques to flesh ideas out and make it longer, but I’m assuming that your essay is perfect as it is and you want a more technological answer. Here are a few techniques that have served me well. I use them all the time.
Note: This tutorial is for Microsoft Word as a part of Office 2007, although many of the same techniques can be used in previous or subsequent versions of Word.
Font Choice and Font Size
First, font or font size is a fairly easy way to make an essay longer. Some teachers demand that Times New Roman size 12 be used. However, when they forget to add that to the rules, you can change it to whatever you want (assuming there’s no blanket statement about it on the syllabus). You want to choose a font that maximizes height. Obviously you don’t want to choose a font that’s too difficult to read, as it may annoy the person grading it. Below is a picture of the word “Hello” printed four times, each at size 12. The fonts, from left to right, are “Angsana New”, “Calibri”, “Times New Roman”, and “Algerian”.
Font size can also make a big impact on your paper. Going with a size 72 font will undoubtedly make your paper surpass the required page count, but isn’t the best idea. Just changing the font size from 12 to 13 can add a few lines to your paper. Below is a picture of identical text in two columns, both in Times New Roman, but size 12 on the left and size 13 on the right.
Even if your teacher demands size 12 Times New Roman, you might be tempted to change it anyway. Slight changes are fairly hard to measure in a printout, however, it is possible. For instance, if a teacher were to print out the word “the” in Times New Roman size 12 on a piece of transparency paper, they could then hold it over a word “the” in your essay and confirm whether or not it’s identical. Probably not going to happen, but it actually has happened to me before.
Space Between lines
The spacing between lines is very difficult to measure because although in most fonts the top and bottom edges vary significantly. In some fonts, there is a common edge except for letters that hang above or below the line, but in fonts that are meant to look more like handwriting, there is not. In any case, even with common edges, it’s not likely that your teacher will whip out a ruler and measure. Too large a gap may arouse suspicion, but changing an essay from double spaced to 2.1 spacing may actually make a large difference. The thing to remember is that the longer the base essay, the more they amplify the length. So for instance, if your essay is 10 lines with double spacing, and you change the spacing to 2.1, you get an extra 0.1 of a line for every line you’ve written, and 0.1×10 = 1. So, for every ten lines you actually write, you get the effect of having written eleven instead. For an essay that’s 4.5 pages, this tiny change can easily bring you over the 5 page mark and is virtually undetectable. Below is two paragraphs, the left with single spacing and the right is 1.1 spacing. This really demonstrates the potential of the small change.
To change the spacing between lines, you’ll need to access the “Paragraph” menu (I believe that in older versions of Word this could be done by going to Format -> Paragraph). In Word 2007, it can be accessed by going to the “Page Layout” tab of the ribbon and clicking on the pop-out button of the Paragraph rectangle.
From there, under Line Spacing, choose “Multiple”, and under At, choose a number close to something normal, like 1.1 or 2.1. You can increase this difference at the risk of the teacher noticing.
Changing the margins of a page is another great way to change the length of your paper. By decreasing the amount of space the words can take up per page, you increase the number of pages required to fit your existing content. Changing the left margin is a bit risky since most papers are left-justified, meaning that the left edge will be relatively the same for all papers. The right margin, however, can be changed to your heart’s content, since the length of words, number of letters, and number of spaces greatly affect each line’s right edge. You can also increase the amount of space taken up by the header and footer of a document.
Lengthen Header Content
One final way you can make a paper appear longer is by adding more lines to the header of your document. If you make it too long, be sure to have it on only the first page and not every page, as this would be incredibly obvious.
If your teacher demands that an essay be 5 pages long and no longer, but your paper is slightly longer, you can use these same techniques in reverse to make your paper look shorter. For instance, you can change double spacing to 1.9 spacing, or increase the margins.
When you are given a writing assignment in college, either a certain number of pages or a particular word count is required. If the assignment is to write a six-page paper on a topic related to the American Revolution, you may wonder how many words are in six pages. The fact is there is no perfect answer to this question. How many words there are on a page depends on the font type, font size, spacing, margins and paragraph length. Depending on the assignment, the Professor may require students to divide their papers into sections, with headings and subheadings. That can also affect the number of words per page.
For college essays and papers, the typical font types are Times New Roman, Arial, and Verdana. The standard font size requirement is 12pt, and the margin requirements are one-inch on all sides. Also, in college, papers must usually be double-spaced, though single-spacing can also be required by some Professors.
There are general guidelines, on how many pages it takes to reach a word count. For example, a 2000-word essay is approximately four pages when single spaced and eight pages when double spaced. A 60,000 word dissertation written by a Ph.D. candidate is about 120 pages single spaced and 200 pages double spaced.
Calculating Words per Page
Let’s say a student must write a short essay with 1000 words. The assignment calls for Times New Roman 12pt font, one-inch margins, and double spacing. So, how many pages is 1000 words going to take up? The answer is about four pages. If the student uses the Arial typeface instead, the total number of pages will be about 3.7. And when using Verdana, the number of pages will be approximately 4.4.
What about an essay that must be 1500 words? How many pages is 1500 words? Using our Word Counter, the average number of pages for 1500 words is three pages when single-spaced and six pages when double-spaced. Now, let’s say the spacing must be 1.5 per the assignment instructions. If a student uses the Times New Roman font type, and the font size requirement is 12pt, then the number of pages to reach 1500 words is approximately 4.8, which rounds up to about five pages.
How Many Words are in a Speech?
Another typical college assignment entails giving a speech in front of your peers. For example, your Chemistry professor may require you to give a 5-minute speech on an element from the Periodic Table. In preparing the speech, you will need to know how many words are in a 5-minute speech. Again, there is no definitive answer because pacing (how many words you speak per minute) and pausing (breaking between sentences/paragraphs) will affect the total time it takes. Daphne Gray-Grant over at Visual Thesaurus writes: “The average person speaks at somewhere between 125 and 150 words per minute.”
For a five-minute speech done by a person speaking 150 words per minute, the approximate word count is around 750. However, as a general rule of thumb for giving speaches you should use around 100–200 words per minute. This is because for public speaking it is better to speak slowly so your audience understands what you are saying. Hence, a five-minute speech using this general rule will have somewhere in the range of 500–1000 words.
Word Counts for Publishing
For those people that are out of college and writing professionally (i.e. publishing their work), another factor when considering how many words there are per page is how the final work is to be printed. In addition to the layout, the font type and size used for published works is often quite different from college papers. For published books, mainly paperback novels, fonts such as Garamond and Calibri are often used. However, there is not hard and fast rule, as a different font can be utilized depending on the subject, genre, or any number of other factors. The size of the font often used in paperback novels commonly ranges from 10pt to 14pt.
Other factors that will affect the number of words per page in a published book include:
Whether the book has pictures, charts, graphs, etc.
The formatting for a book containing such elements means the word count will differ from a book that has only words.
The spacing of the text and between paragraphs.
In most paperback and hardcover novels, the text in the final printed book is single-spaced. Also, a lot of publishers like to put extra spaces between sections of the book to separate point-of-views and settings.
The physical dimensions of the book.
The typical dimensions for a novel are either 5x8 inches or 6x9 inches. It all depends on how the publisher prints the final work and whether it is a hardcover or paperback.
The Reading Level of the book.
For example, children’s books are going to have fewer words per page than a book meant for adult readers.
Common Novel: Word Counts per Page
How many words per page are there in a typical novel? For manuscripts, the answer is about 250–300 words per page if it is double-spaced. A manuscript for a novel is typically 500 words if single-spaced. When the final work is printed for sale and published, the number of words per page will differ.
So, how many pages is 500 words? For a manuscript, the answer is two pages if the word count per page is 250 and it is double spaced. If single-spaced, it is one page. It all depends on the font type, font size, spacing, and formatting of the text. If a novel has a total of 80,000 words with 300 words per page, the number of manuscript pages is 267.
It is interesting, as well as necessary at times, to look at the number of words per page. If you are a college student writing a paper, knowing how many words per page there are in your essay helps you track your progress to the required word count for the assignment. If you are an author working on your next bestseller, you should know that a typical manuscript with double-spaced text has about 250 words per page. Overall, there are multiple answers to the question regarding the number of words per page, as it all depends on font type, font size, and formatting.
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