Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Andy's tips on how to make a paper look longer than it really is

One of the reasons that it's weird for me to do a blog is because I have nothing really that this blog is "about." But the problem with this criticism is that I want to blog, and I don't really have an area of expertise, so my only real option is to write about a lot of random stuff. But if there were to be something that I could definitively claim expertize on, making papers for school seem longer than they really are would be it. So, on the eve of just writing two long papers for school, I'm inspired to share my knowledge. I've split it up into three sections for your viewing convenience, a beginner level (middle school), an intermediate level (high school), and an advanced level (college). The key to remember is that this post is not about trying to cheat or gain an edge over your fellow student, it's about beating the system against an archaic rule (page minimums), and generally bringing down the man.


- One of the most obvious tricks is to change the font. If you want to be obvious about it you can go with Century Gothic or Arial Bold, but the classy move is to change it to Palatino Linotype. It makes the characters a little bit longer vertically without making it look comically large. Some teachers even think it looks better. What they don't know won't hurt them, right?

- Make the margins smaller. Not much too to it here. Once you get out of middle school, teachers will start checking for this kind of stuff, but when you're this young, everything still thinks you're innocent. Please, I haven't been innocent since the first grade when I used to cheat in kickball.

- Use tons of quotes, and if you can, include block quotes where you make the margins smaller. Once you get to the intermediate level teachers will start telling you that you need to "analyze the text" and other liberal bullshit like that. For now, take advantage of the fact that people are just happy to see that you've done the reading.


- If the beginner method was to make the margins narrower, then the intermediate method is to make the pages shorter. Primarily this should be done at the bottom, because the way that word documents auto-format the paragraphs is always weird and it is easy to claim innocence if your page is a little too short. This is in the intermediate section, however, because it requires slightly more tact.

- Once you've reached the intermediate level, you've probably already begin to understand the beauty that is Google images. What you probably haven't realized is how these images can be your best friends in papers. Simply add a map of Paris in your paper about the French Revolution, or a picture of a typical 18th century bachelor in your essay on Pride and Prejudice, text wrap it, and you're good to go. Whoever said that a picture is worth a thousand words was a wise man indeed.


- Make the periods bigger. The teacher can tell by this point if you make the font size of most of the paper much larger, but just by making the periods font size 16 or 18, you can increase the length of the paper (by making the length between lines longer), and no one will be the wiser.

- People seem to have an idea that you can only put footnotes on history research papers. But who made up that rule? Footnote words from in your english papers, some existential thinker in your philosophy papers, and Keynesian thought in your econ papers. Not only does the footnote lengthen the line it's on, it also adds the descriptive line at the bottom of the page, and the useful black line separating your text from your footnote descriptions. This is why endnotes are for dorks and footnotes are for the cool kids.

All these tips are legit, tried and true. If any teacher calls you on one of them, good. Calmly explain to them that page minimums are a joke and that most geniuses weren't understand as children anyway. If possible, swipe the evidence from their clutches and run like hell. Happy lengthening!