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Making Your Paper Longer


1. Clarify with improved transitions

· Look for places in your paper which require the reader to make a jump (however small) in logic.
· Add clarifying words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs as needed. Think of your paper as an uphill intellectual path from introduction to conclusion, with your main points as steps or stairs. The more clear your transitions, the easier it will be for your readers to follow your logic right through to your conclusion.

Remember, a good transition:

· refers in some way to what went before (with as little as a word or as much as a sentence), and
· connects what went before with what will follow.

2. Support your points more fully

Quotes
· Whether your paper is based on reading or research in general, you may find it helpful to “re-search” any reading you have done on the subject for quotes to include in your paper.
· Once you have found the quotes, determine where they fit into your outline and place them appropriately. *HINT: In MLA format, quotes four lines or longer are indented an additional inch on the left side, adding even more length!
· Once you have added a quote, be sure to include with it at least a few sentences explaining the quote and its relevance to your point.

Examples and Anecdotes
For many papers, brief stories of personal experience, or anecdotes, can serve to clarify or “bring home” a point. Again, be sure to include at least a few sentences explaining the story’s relevance to your point. Often, these are good ways to start out your paper and grab your reader’s attention. You can then refer to them throughout your paper.

3. Make Reference

Recap
Once a story or major quote has been added, it is often beneficial to refer to it later in your paper. (This can also be part of your “transition” lengthening stage.) You won’t want to do this with every quote or example, but a reference to one or two of such elements in the middle of your paper can serve as a bridge in the reader’s mind so that a second reference in the conclusion will not be confusing.

4. Tie Up Loose Ends

Introduction
Be sure to be complete and clear in your introduction. This part of your paper should preview your points for the reader. A good introduction answers the writer’s question, “What will I tell the reader?” and should briefly mention most, if not all, of the points addressed in the paper.

Conclusion
Make sure that your conclusion is also complete and clear. A good conclusion drives home the point of the paper, and answer’s the writer’s questions, “What have I told the reader?” and, “What conclusion do I want the reader to come to as a result of what I have told him or her?”

5. Add Points

Additional Points
If you have followed all of the above suggestions and your paper still falls short of the required length, add main points.
· Make a statement that develops your main idea.
· Develop that statement using transitions, quotes, stories, and/or examples.
· Be sure your development makes clear the new point’s relevance to your thesis.
· Try to work a reference to the new point into your introduction and conclusion.

HINT: Avoid the appearance of a student who aims only to do the minimum required on an assignment by writing slightly more than the minimum. For example, if the assignment calls for 5-7 pages, try to have at least a few lines written on page 6.

-- Adapted from WRAC Center handout, Chabot College

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