Conclusion paragraphs can be tricky to write, but a clear conclusion can sum up your main points and leave your reader with a clear sense of what to take away from your overall essay. Creating a strong essay means making sure that you have a clear introduction, several body paragraphs, and an equally strong conclusion. Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to write a conclusion paragraph, and then check out our library of conclusion worksheets to get plenty of practice in how to write a strong conclusion.
How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph
Choose Smooth Conclusion Transition Words
Your conclusion paragraph should begin with a smooth transition from the body of your essay. The first sentence of your paragraph should include clear transition words to signal to your reader that you are beginning to wrap up your essay. Different transition words can have different effects, so be sure to choose a transition word or phrase that clearly communicates that you are closing your essay. Some common examples of conclusion transition words and phrases include words / phrases like “in conclusion”, “to conclude”, “in summary”, “all things considered”, “ultimately”, “to sum up”, “in essence” and “in short”. Learn more about the different types of transition words.
Restate Main Points
Once you have signaled that you are drawing your essay to a close, you can then restate the main points of your essay. Depending on the length of your essay, this may be done in a single sentence, or it may require a few sentences. Be concise and clear; you should be able to summarize each main point in a simple phrase that avoids restating each detail and piece of evidence related to the point. Simply list off the points as a reminder to your audience about what they’ve just read.
Restate Your Argument
Finally, if you’re writing an argumentative essay, you’ll want to clearly restate your main argument in order to leave readers with one final appeal. If you have provided enough evidence along the way, this restatement should make readers feel as if you’ve persuaded them fully.
Call to Action
For some expository and argumentative essays, it’s appropriate to end with a call to action as your last sentence. For example, if you’re writing an informative essay about the sea creatures that live in the very deepest parts of the ocean, you may close with a sentence like this: “It’s clear that today’s scientists should continue to observe and document these mysterious creatures, so we may all learn more about life at the bottom of the ocean.” A call to action like this can make your reader feel inspired and informed after reading your essay.
What to Avoid with Conclusion Transitions
When writing a strong conclusion paragraph, you want to keep it simple. Use a clear transition word or phrase, restate your main points and argument, and possibly finish with a call to action. Be sure to avoid the following missteps:
- New Information. Your conclusion is not the place to introduce anything new. Simply restate and summarize the main points clearly.
- Personal Opinion. Unless you are writing an opinion piece that includes several “I” statements throughout, avoid ending your essay with a sudden “I think…” or “I feel…” If you haven’t been including your personal opinion throughout the essay, then you shouldn’t insert your opinion into the conclusion.
- Lots of Details. When you restate your main points, don’t worry about restating all the small details that make up your description or evidence. The place for details is in your body paragraphs. The conclusion is simply for summary and a possible call for action or next steps.
Check out our printable conclusion paragraph worksheets too!
Have you ever tried to wrap a present without tape? It’s no easy task, but it can be done with a bit of dexterity, patience, and lots of ribbon.
Wrapping up your essay can sometimes feel like wrapping a present without tape—it can be difficult at times, and you may feel that it’s just too much work. But don’t worry; I’ll give you some advice that’ll really stick with you and make writing conclusions a cinch.
Follow my guidelines and your essay conclusion will not only bind your writing together, but it’ll leave the reader with a sense of closure—the bow on top of the box, so to speak.
Photo via christmasstockimages.com
What (Almost) All Essay Conclusions Should Do:
There are a lot of different kinds of essays, so your conclusion is going to vary between each category. However, there are a few common elements that almost every essay conclusion should include.
Why almost every one?
Well, in a few circumstances, it’ll be okay to break the rules a little bit. But just like anything else, you should get to know the rules first before you break them.
Summary of Your Thesis Statement and Main Points
Okay, by now you should have a strong introduction complete with a hook and a thesis statement. You should also have the body of your essay written, or at least outlined.
If you don’t have these things written down, stop what you’re doing and get to writing.
Okay, are you done with your intro and body paragraphs now? Good, let’s talk about summarizing what you said.
When I say summarize your thesis statement and the main points of your body paragraphs, I don’t just mean restate them in the same or nearly the same words. You have to use different language in your essay conclusion that will make it engaging.
Still going with the gift idea for this example:
If your thesis statement is, “Wrapping gifts is important because it builds anticipation in the recipient, it makes the gift look nice, and it shows the person you really care.”
Your essay conclusion shouldn’t just say the exact same thing over again. Instead, try using more vivid language.
For example, “One of the most important aspects of gift-giving is the element of surprise, and a great way build up the surprise is to take care in wrapping your gift. Using bright colors and decorations such as ribbons and bows can make quite an impression. Your dedication to detail will let your loved one know you cared to take the time.”
Tie Up Loose Ends
Photo copyright CC-BY-SA-2.5
You might notice that my essay conclusion example is a little more drawn out than the thesis statement. This is because I wanted to include enough details to tie up any loose ends.
If I had just simply restated the thesis statement, the reader might wonder how wrapping a gift shows that you care about someone, or how gift wrapping makes a present look nice.
Before writing your conclusion, read over the rest of your paper with new eyes. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and try to imagine any questions you might have left unanswered. Consider any ideas you may have skirted around but didn’t make a direct statement about.
Then, answer those questions in a clear and concise manner in your conclusion.
End with Interest
Remember your hook in the introduction? Most likely it’s something like a statistic, short anecdote, quote, or surprising fact.
Well, your essay conclusion should have a kind of ending hook as well, a statement of interest. There are a couple ways to go about writing this statement.
- Use a parallel structure. If you used a statistic in the introduction, use another statistic in the conclusion; if you used a quote, use another similar quote. However, just as you shouldn’t simply restate the thesis, you should also not use the same hook for the ending.
- Ask a rhetorical question. This can give the reader something to think about, and it can put your topic in the context of some greater problem.
These two options are merely suggestions, and you can end your conclusion however you feel is best. The point is to make sure that the reader stays hooked until the very end.
Essay Conclusions That Are Exceptions to the Rules
The tips I’ve given above are for a general essay conclusion and will hold true for most types of essays. However, there are times when you’ll need to add some details or deviate from the formula a little bit.
An Argumentative Essay Conclusion
The guidelines I have listed will cover most of what you’ll write for an argumentative essay conclusion, but there are more details you should add.
An argumentative essay presents an argument for a specific point. This argument is probably important in some way, and in your body paragraphs, you should address opposing viewpoints.
Thus, a conclusion for an argumentative essay should let the reader know why the topic you’re writing about is important, and why you think your point of view is the right one. This means quickly readdressing and dispelling the opposition.
For your point of interest at the end of your essay conclusion, it is often a good idea to give an idea of what would happen if the reader, or the world as a whole, chose the opposing point of view.
Be descriptive; paint a picture.
A Narrative Essay Conclusion
Narrative essays are just a whole other ball game. You’re not analyzing, arguing, or explaining. You are telling a story, and you probably have not come across many books that fully summarize the main points of the story at the end.
This does not mean that you can’t restate the purpose of your narrative. It just means that you have to do it in a different way.
Often this takes the form of reflection. You’ve taken the reader through a journey, and reflection in a narrative essay conclusion “takes the reader home.” It tells what you learned as a result of that journey.
The conclusion could also be a piece of dialogue that has some statement that ties everything up nicely. Think about it as an ending line in a movie.
And Now For My Conclusion
Though you may need to add more details as in the case of the argumentative essay, or change the rules completely as with the narrative essay, most conclusions follow a pretty straightforward set of rules.
It is important to use descriptive, detailed language no matter the type of essay, as this will tie up your loose ends and make the summary of your thesis and main points more interesting to the reader.
And speaking of interesting, don’t forget to keep that reader interested until the very last word. Use shocking statements, or put your topic in the context of a larger issue.
Any way you choose to end your writing, it’s important to spend time developing your essay conclusion. As novelist Colm Toibin said, “Ending a novel is almost like putting a child to sleep – it can’t be done abruptly.”
If you’re still unsure about your conclusion or any other part of your essay, the Kibin editors are here to point you in the right direction.
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