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My boyfriend tells me that American paper is a different size from English paper....

We use A4 sheets, which I take it are somewhat shorter, but perhaps wider, than your sheets, this messes up my calculations of words per page for my essays etc.

We work in numbers of words, so my MA thesis will be 20,000 words long - which, not including footnotes, would be approximately 67 pages (double spaced). A chapter of the thesis will be between 15 and 20 pages... a good size for a writing sample - but I don't want there to be problems with a) formatting, if I send anything electronically and they need to print them. b ) inadvertently sending an over or under length writing sample.

I think the easiest thing for me is to convert my essays into the paper format used in the US in Word, but the only options it gives me are "Tabloid", "Letter" and "Legal" - does anyone know if one of these is the American paper size I need to use?

I know this is a niggly little detail that can wait till MUCH later, but it's still worrying me, so I'd like to put my mind at rest with an answer now.

Edited by vallensvelvet
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My boyfriend tells me that American paper is a different size from English paper....

We use A4 sheets, which I take it are somewhat shorter, but perhaps wider, than your sheets, this messes up my calculations of words per page for my essays etc.

Actually, it's the other way around, since I'm fairly certain that the most common paper size used in the States is letter (I never encountered anything else there while printing), which is slightly wider, but shorter than A4. (Which also answers your question regarding which one you should use.)

Edit: Potentially useful link: http://betweenborder...4-vs-us-letter/

Edited by dant.gwyrdd
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Yup, we almost always use letter-sized paper over here. A friend of mine from Japan once got me a nice display folder with plastic sleeves. It was for A4 sized paper, so I had to trim the sides of all my (letter) sheets to fit them into the folder.

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Yup, we almost always use letter-sized paper over here. A friend of mine from Japan once got me a nice display folder with plastic sleeves. It was for A4 sized paper, so I had to trim the sides of all my (letter) sheets to fit them into the folder.

As previous posters have said, letter size is shorter and wider than A4. FWIW, a rule of thumb over here is that a normal page with 1-inch margins is 500 words single spaced, 250 words double spaced. Hope this helps.

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Thanks everyone.

Playing around with the paper size in Word suggests that for every ten thousand words a change to Letter format from A4 results in one extra page, which shouldn't be much of a problem.

Double spaced A4 yields about 300 words a page, versus your 250; so, 5,000 words would be the upper limit acceptable for most applications. I may need to cut a chapter slightly, but not drastically, which is nice to know.

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With respect, I think you're overthinking this one. I sent all mine still formatted as A4 or printed out on A4 paper (I'm Australian) and nobody raised an eyebrow - which is to say, I got into a bunch of schools with no worries. I also didn't weed out the Commonwealth spellings or remember to change the dates to US format. I did consider doing all those things, but only fleetingly; I figured I had much better things to focus on than paper sizes or getting rid of the extra u's, like making my writing sample awesome and chasing letters of recommendation. And as my flatmate put it, "If they even notice, they'll just think it's a charming colonial eccentricity".

My writing sample was a very pared-down version of my undergraduate Honours thesis, which was about the same size as your Masters one (a little shorter). I cut it down to about 8,000 words, which came in at 21 pages 1.5 spaced, including bibliography. Worked fine.

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My writing sample was a very pared-down version of my undergraduate Honours thesis, which was about the same size as your Masters one (a little shorter). I cut it down to about 8,000 words, which came in at 21 pages 1.5 spaced, including bibliography. Worked fine.

I sent my WS on A4 sheets, 1.15 spaced, 11 pt font, ~20 000 words. I would advise against that. The day I realized that the US standard is 12 pt double-spaced... Well, cue panic. Not sure what this did to me at the places that rejected me, but apparently, there are places willing to look past even transgressions of this magnitude. But again. I was ignorant. Don't be. :P

The A4 vs the other thing I didn't even know about until now. Fascinating.

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