March 13, 2019-Lander, Wyoming.
Well, it finally happened. You’ve heard rumors about the essay for some time and you knew it was going to be a long one. However, rather than simply setting the assignment parameters at 8-10 pages, the professor has opted for a word count instead. How could anyone have the gall to do that? Now all of your essay-writing tricks are useless. You can use Book Antiqua at 12 point font; you can add in an extra space between paragraphs. You could even format your lines at 2.15 times spacing, rather than using standard double spacing. It doesn’t matter. Nothing will help you reach the word count besides actual words. Many words spring to mind at this point, but none are printable, and they wouldn’t be particularly helpful, at any rate.
The first step to be taken is to make sure that your diction is up to the task. When one writes, one never ‘walks through a valley.’ Rather, one must ‘meander through the green mountain vale as the sun descends beneath the horizon, bestowing its final rays upon the earth as the sky is set ablaze in a final display of glory, giving way at last as a cool darkness blankets the land and the wolf’s lonesome cry is heard in the far-off glade.’ You must think of yourself as an artist. Why would you draw a simple sketch when you could use the gift of your art to take your reader there? After all, when you are faced with a numerical goal, can you afford to simply make a statement when you can take your reader on a literary adventure? The choice is up to you.
Next, you must make sure that contractions and other such wasteful terms are never used. Do not use don’t. That usage eliminates some fifty percent of the utility of the phrase, ‘do not.’ This brings us to another point. Fifty percent must be written out, never hyphenated, never written as ‘50%,’ which makes one word of what should, by rights, be two. Also, prefixes and suffixes are out, if one takes one’s writing seriously. Should your friend seem unhappy when it may seem quite certain that he is not content?
A word of warning, however. One must never, in avoiding the use of shortened terminology, harm the flow of the essay. ‘One’s writing,’ for example, could be written out as ‘that writing which belongs to oneself.’ However, this is quite clunky and imparts the feeling that one ought to be sporting a tricorn hat and making speeches about ‘taxation without representation’ on a cobblestone street corner. You must use modern English appropriately and never allow your quest to complete a given assignment at appropriate length harm the quality of your grammar as a native English speaker.
At any rate, if you become desperate, you may take more drastic means and draw on the American government for inspiration. What does the government have to do with verbosity? If you don’t know, then you certainly have never read the full text of any piece of legislation before. For every bill, there is a short summary or introduction, which seems simple enough, but when you get to the text of the bill, it is often many pages long. If it works for them, it can work for you.
Sometimes, one just has to state an idea and then restate it to make sure everyone knows that X is important, particularly Y aspect of X. As a sort of example, suppose we said that we desire to protect public lands. The thing to do would certainly be to immediately say something to the effect of preserving such for future generations, including completely separate sentences about wildlife, the planet, and so on. Obviously, the desire to protect public lands deserves an entire paragraph, perhaps more, to explain exactly why. Then you explain exactly how, using as much space as you need. Never leave out any detail. Before you know it, you will have all the words you need. If you so choose, you may edit at this point. If you’d rather not, perhaps it would be for the better. Either way, happy writing!