The Most Clever Essay Tricks You Know You’ve Used

Filler quotes

Writing an academic paper can be hard. There’s a word count to abide by and a page limit to follow—and obviously a lot of research and writing that goes into it.

But, some slick students have tried—big emphasis on tried—using clever hacks that make the overall process a little less grueling. Here are some of the most crafty (and downright ridiculous) tricks students have used when turning in a research paper.

Filler quotes

When you write a paper, you like to sprinkle random quotes from that classic you read in English class throughout your essay. Yes, this helps fill up the page, but you also think it’s pretty cool to tie The Great Gatsby with say, the periodic table. Your teacher will have to be impressed with your clever effort, right?

Using big words

Everyday words are for your fellow classmates. You shoot to impress the teacher with your vocabulary skills by using terms others don’t, and ones that are a lot longer. Did someone say, sesquipedalian?) Sure, you could simply say something is valueless, but why do that when you can use the word floccinaucinihilipilification … right?

Adding a long header

Instead of simply adding your name, date, and class title to the header of your page, you provide unnecessary additions to bulk it up. For example, you also add your age, physical description, address, social-media handles, or anything that you think is relevant. Your teacher needs to know this paper is yours after all.

And, nothing exemplifies organization quite like a proper footer, don’t you think? That’s what you tell your teacher when you add a footer with page numbers to your essay, even if you’re well aware it increases the overall length, too.

Larger font

Times New Roman is usually the go-to font for just about every academic paper, but you have your ways of working around that. You make a subtle change by switching it up to something larger, like Bookman Old Style, for a meatier appeal that you’re almost positive no one will notice … even a teacher with a ruler as a sidekick.

And, if you may not be able to increase the font size of your essay (see: pesky teacher with ruler sidekick), that won’t stop you from making your punctuation bigger. Rather than keeping your commas and periods at 12 pt., you amp up the size to 14 pt., hopeful that the teacher doesn’t notice your punctuation is on some serious steroids.


After you insert a quote into your document, you immediately follow up by paraphrasing it. You like to give your own interpretation to what the quote is about (no matter how straightforward it is to the reader) to show you get it—and, you know, to add a few extra pages to the mix.

Increase line spacing

As an alternative to keeping your paper double-spaced (which is usually the standard for an essay), you adjust the line spacing ever so slightly to increase the length. You prefer to work with 2.1 spacing that can tack on almost an extra page, leaving you with the recommended page count without all the work.

Adjusting margins

You’re all about playing around with margins. Instead of keeping the right side at 1 inch, you increase it to 1.25, reducing the space on the page (causing it to be more narrow with less space to take up) while resulting in more pages. Ah, computer hacks 101.

Adding extra spaces after periods

You know the standard spacing requirement after punctuation is one space, but that doesn’t stop you from doubling it when needed. And, when you’re looking to fill up 12 pages and only have 11, there’s no way you won’t be adding two spaces after a period instead of one.

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Word of the Day

Can you guess the definition?


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Can you guess the definition?

Word of the day

[ pahr-suh-moh-nee-uhs ]