Example essay

how to increase the word count of your essay without filler words

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“The reason is that”, “because”, “therefore, it can be concluded that” – every student knows that these are must-have phrases when your article does not meet the minimum word count. At 11:55 a.m. on due dates, desperately, I too would add these sentences to my essays. Each time, I cringed and thought about my high school English teacher. I could almost hear him say, “Strunk and White Rule 17: Omit unnecessary words!” She was referring to Style elements by William Strunk Jr. and EB White, which is a writing style rulebook she asked us to read. Rule 17 condemned the use of unnecessary words in sentences and instead advised authors to be concise with their language.

As much as I hate to agree with a book first published in 1918, Strunk and White got it right. Filler words like the ones above can increase your word count, but they distract from your argument and disrupt the flow of your essay. It’s badly written.

But how do you achieve your word count goal? and replace “the reason why” with “because?” Well, look no further, here are some tips and tricks that I use in my trials to fix this problem.

Find a new example

One of the best ways to increase word count (and improve your essay) is to add more information. Find an argument in your essay that could be reinforced with an example. For example, if you’re writing an essay about how Covid-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color, you can add first-person interviews and testimonials from people in those communities. Even if you already have examples in your article, it never hurts to add more. Just make sure that the examples you choose add information to your argument and don’t simply rephrase what has already been said. Also, adding a quote from an expert or an interview will increase your word count.

Split a point into two paragraphs

Generally, the body of an essay should be a series of points that support and prove your thesis. Each piece of new information should convince the reader more of what you are arguing about. Splitting one of your points into two or more separate paragraphs can help increase your word count. This is another win-win as it also helps organize your essay and makes it more digestible for the reader. Whenever you start a new paragraph in an essay, you should start with a topic sentence that conveys the main idea of ​​the paragraph. If you do it right, more paragraphs mean more topic sentences which means more words.

Focus on your conclusion

If you’re like me, you never have any ideas of what to write for conclusions. Most of the time you rephrase your thesis and a few of your main points and call it a day. But believe it or not, your conclusion is a great tool for increasing your word count. Conclusions exist to summarize your article, but they also exist to reinforce the importance of your topic. Why should the reader care to read an eight-page essay on the history of guerrilla warfare or urban planning in the 1950s? The conclusion is there to call them to action and Craft they care. Taking full advantage of it is a great way to get more words.

What you shouldn’t do

Here are some things to avoid when trying to increase your word count: Words that are too explicit and unnecessary. Unnecessary details and over-explained points will quickly become redundant for your reader. Better to stick to the basics. The more clearly and concisely you can write, the more impact it will have on your reader. Unnecessary words also make your writing harder to follow; they waste time that the reader could focus on your argument instead. For example, try removing unnecessary “it”s from your paper.

Alright… but why should I care anyway?

Sometimes you can hit your word count by using filler words. Sometimes it works very well. But another thing is also true: better handwriting equals better grades. The better you can convey the information to your reader (your teacher or TA); the more likely you are to tick boxes on the rubric and get the grade you want. It won’t hurt you in the long run either. If you practice these tactics now, they will eventually become habits. You’ll never have to worry about hitting the word count again.

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