13 Tips to Lengthen an Essay when stuck with a low word count

author By Mary Boies

Whether you are writing a short or long essay, sometimes you just hit a snag. Unfortunately, going blank when writing an essay is common among students and professionals alike, especially if it is a last-minute essay, an essay on a complex topic, or one written when one is tired.

how to make an essay longer without breaking rules

It becomes a challenge to write longer essays, where you have to do extensive research and produce relevant content for multiple pages. Even when you have the points, it becomes challenging to churn content that can fit into the assigned word count.

We have experts who can help you elongate an essay. They can pick up from where you are stuck, re-write and rephrase the content, then complete the essay or paper to your satisfaction. You can hire a professional essay writer from our website to do that for you, and you won't struggle so much to make an essay longer.

Nevertheless, if all you need is to learn about the practical strategies you can use to lengthen an essay, this guide does precisely that. We have focused on the techniques that have worked and those that are practical so as not to get you into trouble as you make your essay longer.

Strategies to Make Essays Longer and meet the Word Count

making an essay longer correctly

You might ask yourself endless questions: "what did I leave out?" or "what else do I put down?"

Yours is not a secluded case. Everyone agrees that writing a longer essay or research paper beyond 10 pages can be tiresome, draining, and demanding. Yet you have to meet the word Count plus or minus 10%.

To make an essay longer, expand your introduction and conclusion, re-read the prompt/rubric, use more examples, illustrations, and evidence, use transitions, reorganize paragraphs, remove contractions, and expand your research on the topic. Doing so makes you meet the word count, have relevant content, and improve your chances of scoring the best grade. It is best to avoid using tools and use the tips we have shared below.

Because there are many ways to make an essay longer, let's look at each step-by-step. These strategies apply when seeking to lengthen your dissertation, proposal, thesis, research and term papers, reports, and other forms of writing.

1.  Re-read the rubric and prompt

Although you did this before researching and writing, it is wise to revise the rubric and the prompt so that you can understand how to proceed with lengthening your essay. Revising the rubric/prompt lets, you spot the points you could have left out. If you had missed anything in the planning stages, you can now incorporate it into your essay and make it longer and complete.

When reviewing the instructions and rubric, go line-by-line to determine if your essay meets all the criteria. If there are gaps, correct them in your essay. Reading the rubric also helps you to know the scope of elongating the essay. For instance, if your professor asked that you use 10 paragraphs and have 9, you will know that you can add a paragraph. Besides, you can also know the approximate number of words required per paragraph if the rubric has such specifications.

2. Use a Reverse Outline

Reverse outlining helps you achieve a greater level of objectivity by allowing you to follow how you have developed the main ideas in your paper. You will have a condensed version of the arguments that you can evaluate to determine if your essay or paper makes sense or not.

Therefore, write a reverse outline when you are short on words or feel stuck with your essay. In the process of reverse outlining, you can find some gaps in your topic sentences, supporting details, examples, illustrations, and transition sentences.

Correcting these gaps will extend your essay by a few sentences or words that can help you meet the required word count.

3. Refine your introduction and conclusion

In most cases, the introduction should be 10-15% of the total word count. Because ideas evolve as you write a paper, you should go back to what you wrote in the introduction, re-read, reorganize, and reformat it to make it meet the 10-15% word count or go a few words beyond the normal word count for an introduction paragraph. If you had left some ideas that have been reflected in the body of your essay, you could reorganize the introduction and the conclusion. As per the conclusion, ensure that the word count is between 10-15% of the entire word count of the assignment. If you notice that it lacks a summary of the main points, beef it up to reflect the body. You can even elongate how you restate your thesis in the conclusion to add a few elaborative words. Besides, if you used "in sum," "in conclusion," or "to sum up," consider using practical sentence starters for conclusion paragraphs and not these cliches. Everything that can add a word at this point progresses toward lengthening your essay.

4. Integrate more evidence

As we have said elsewhere in the EssayManiacs blog, to get a first-class in your essay, you have to prove that you researched, refined your findings, and wrote your essay based on scholarly sources. You can practically make an essay or paper longer by adding more in-text citations and references. Mainly, this works well because you will strengthen your arguments and counterarguments and prove the claims in a way that makes the essay coherent, clear, and complete. So, the next time you are stuck with meeting a word count, think of using evidence from credible sources to support the ideas in your essay.

A common strategy is to cite multiple authors who have mentioned the same concepts or ideas. For example, you can cite (Author 1 & Author 2, 2019; Author X et al., 2020; Author X and Author Y, 2022). You can use the semicolons to separate the authors you referenced for an idea, example, counterargument, or argument.

You can also avoid the parenthetical citation (Field, 2022) and introduce the authors. For example, you can say "According to Field (2022)" or "In a retrospective study conducted by Field (2022)". Doing so helps you add some words to your essay and remain relevant without breaking any writing, formatting, and citation rules.

5. Introduce more examples

When writing a comprehensive essay, examples are a mainstay. It is an excellent practice that makes your readers understand your perspective, point of view, angle of analysis, or goal with the essay or paper. Examples help write clearly and maintain a good flow in a paragraph. Use examples to support the topic sentences or the mini-thesis of your essay.

You can further back up your claims and arguments in an essay using more examples to make it longer. Find the examples that relate to each topic sentence and expand each paragraph accordingly. Adding examples counts towards reducing the word count. You can restate the arguments, highlight concepts, define terms, draw contrast and comparisons, or expound on concepts.

When introducing your examples, use the appropriate signals and transitions so that your readers understand that you are expounding a point. When introducing examples, include statistical data from empirical research findings. The statistical data makes your arguments and claims powerful. Ensure that the data provided is factual and relevant to the essay topic. Again, use data from credible scholarly sources and cite the information accordingly.

6.  Signpost Ideas in your Essay

We mentioned earlier that expanding the introduction can make your essay longer. If you notice that you are short of words to make a good word count for the introduction, you can use signposting in the introduction paragraph to make it a little longer. Here, you will present the aim of your essay and how the main ideas are organized. It makes working on your essay easier, and your readers can follow through with your arguments.

Likewise, you can use signpost phrases and words in your paragraphs to keep your readers focused on the main points. For instance, you can write transitional sentences that explain what the next paragraph will be about.

7.  Avoid using contractions

The use of contractions is forbidden in academic writing because doing so confuses the readers. It can affect how a reader translates your arguments, claims, and counterarguments. Do not shorten any phrase with the hope that it makes sense or because it is used in speech. Likewise, do not expand words unnecessarily. When you eliminate all the contractions in your essay, you will realize that you have a longer essay courtesy of the new words realized.

The same applies to the use of abbreviations such as CDC, WHO, UN, etc. In the first instance, write the term in full when you use them, and you are free to use them as abbreviations in subsequent uses. At the same time, ensure that your citations from organizations include the right abbreviations and long forms per the citation guidelines.

8. Use adequate transitions

A good essay has adequate, strategic, and well-balanced transition words and sentences. As with signposting in an essay, use transition words judiciously. Keep your readers engaged by transitioning them from one idea, example, or illustration to another. These words help your readers to understand what comes next without surprising them in any way. Words like "moreover," "in contrast," "Fundamentally," "Typically," and other transition words will help you link ideas and words.

You can make your sentences longer by using these linking words. Likewise, use transition sentences to explain what the next paragraph holds. They come in handy when describing examples, emphasizing ideas, comparing and contrasting concepts or authors, drawing conclusions, and presenting summaries.

9. Reformat (reorganize) your paragraphs

Professors insist on self-editing and proofreading the essays when advising students on the best ways to make their essays score higher. The most stressed point is to avoid the fear of reorganizing an essay, even if it means doing away with some paragraphs.

If you have written your essay and hit a snag on the word count, restructuring the paragraphs can help. Read the topic sentence, supporting ideas, and the concluding sentences of the body paragraphs and decide whether it supports one idea or you can split the multiple ideas.

If your body paragraphs have multiple ideas instead of one per paragraph, split the ideas and develop two independent yet interdependent paragraphs. Each paragraph ends up supporting the thesis and being related to one another. You can quickly achieve 150 to 200 extra words when you write a new paragraph with a pertinent idea supporting the topic and thesis statement.

10. Include Headings and Subheadings

If you are writing a more extended essay, say beyond 3000 words, you can elongate it by using headings and subheadings.

Drawing from your outline, divide your essay into sections and use subheadings and headings. When doing so, remember to format the headings and subheadings as per the APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard formatting style conventions.

Headings and subheadings in essays and research papers help you to structure and organize ideas. Your readers can also jump through the sections and make meaning. Including them in an essay makes it longer too.

11. Expand your Research

Having an essay shorter than the desired or required word count can signal that your research was not deep enough. Therefore, research further on your main ideas in the outline, find new sources, expound on the ideas, and include relevant in-text citations.

If there are weak points in your essay, find ways you can make them stronger. For example, having more information might strengthen your arguments, help you reorganize paragraphs, and make your essay beefy with relevance. Therefore, research widely and organize your sources, then use the findings to expand the word count of your writing.

To research better, take a short break from writing and come at it when your mind is settled and objective.

12. Explore an additional Angle

Exploring a topic from diverse angles, like doing extra research, can also help you lengthen your essay. Sticking to one perspective is detrimental and only shows that your research skills are inept. However, when you bring a novel perspective to your writing, you can expand your arguments, develop new paragraphs, and have counterarguments that make sense. Use adequate transitions, statistical data, and phrases when including an additional angle. You could make your essay longer by arguing both sides of a topic. It shows you have attained writing maturity. You can then draw a comparison and a conclusion that your readers will enjoy reading.

13.  Use quotations but don't overdo it

When assigned to write some subjects such as nursing, business, leadership, and biology essays, the use of quotes might look absurd. However, quotes are allowed in some subjects such as English and Literature, Government, Religion, and History. Unless you are required to use a quote, consult with your professor or teacher if you are unsure.

Quotes can help lengthen an essay better without breaking academic writing rules. When you use quotes of more than three lines, ensure you format them correctly. Like ideas borrowed from other authors, ensure that your quotes are followed by a detailed explanation of how it fits the context of your essay or paper.

Explain the quote, meaning, and relevance in supporting your thesis statement. When including a quote, it should be related and relevant to the topic. Therefore, you should use quotation marks, proper citations, and a block quote format. Besides, if you have multiple quotes, ensure they are well-spaced and explained.

Final Words

Making an essay longer should only be done in the best way to yield better grades. Avoid using filler phrases, bluff, repetition, complex sentences, run-on sentences, spelling out numbers, using larger spacing and font sizes, using cliches, and manipulating margins, because those will land you into trouble.

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You are expected to meet an approximate word count when assigned to write essays. It is the sole reason we benchmark our essay prices on pages (a page is 275 words).

After writing an essay, if you notice that you are a couple of words short of reaching the lower limit of the word count stated in your rubric and essay prompt, you can use the 13 strategies we have outlined above to make your essay longer.

Alternatively, hire an essay writer to make your essay longer. Our writers can take over from where you left off, develop ideas, and complete the paper with the desired word count.

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