How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay
By the time you get to the final paragraph of your paper, you have already done so much work on your essay, so all you want to do is to wrap it up as quickly as possible. You’ve already made a stunning introduction, proven your argument, and structured the whole piece as supposed – who cares about making a good conclusion paragraph?
The only thing you need to remember is that the conclusion of an essay is not just the last paragraph of an academic paper where you restate your thesis and key arguments. A concluding paragraph is also your opportunity to have a final impact on your audience.
Instead of Intro: What Is a Conclusion?
Before we can move on, let’s take a moment here to define the conclusion itself. According to the standard conclusion definition, it is pretty much the last part of something, its result, or end. However, this term is rather broad and superficial.
When it comes to writing academic papers, a concluding statement refers to an opinion, judgment, suggestion, or position arrived at by logical reasoning (through the arguments provided in the body of the text). Therefore, if you are wondering “what is a good closing sentence like?” – keep on reading.
What Does a Good Conclusion Mean?
Writing a good conclusion for a paper isn’t easy. However, we are going to walk you through this process step by step. Although there are generally no strict rules on how to formulate one, there are some basic principles that everyone should keep in mind. In this section, we will share some core ideas for writing a good conclusion, and, later in the article, we will also provide you with more practical advice and examples.
Here are the core goals a good conclusion should complete:
- “Wrap up” the entire paper;
- Demonstrate to readers that the author accomplished what he/she set out to do;
- Show how you the author has proved their thesis statement;
- Give a sense of completeness and closure on the topic;
- Leave something extra for your reader to think about;
- Leave a powerful final impact on a reader.
Another key thing to remember is that you should not introduce any new ideas or arguments to your paper’s conclusion. It should only sum up what you have already written, revisit your thesis statement, and end with a powerful final impression.
When considering how to write a conclusion that works, here are the key points to keep in mind:
- A concluding sentence should only revisit the thesis statement, not restate it;
- It should summarize the main ideas from the body of the paper;
- It should demonstrate the significance and relevance of your work;
- An essay’s conclusion should include a call for action and leave space for further study or development of the topic (if necessary).
How Long Should a Conclusion Be?
Although there are no strict universal rules regarding the length of an essay’s final clause, both teachers and experienced writers recommend keeping it clear, concise, and straight to the point. There is an unspoken rule that the introduction and conclusion of an academic paper should both be about 10% of the overall paper’s volume. For example, if you were assigned a 1500 word essay, both the introductory and final clauses should be approximately 150 words long (300 together).
Why You Need to Know How to End an Essay:
A conclusion is what drives a paper to its logical end. It also drives the main points of your piece one last time. It is your last opportunity to impact and impress your audience. And, most importantly, it is your chance to demonstrate to readers why your work matters. Simply put, the final paragraph of your essay should answer the last important question a reader will have – “So what?”
If you do a concluding paragraph right, it can give your readers a sense of logical completeness. On the other hand, if you do not make it powerful enough, it can leave them hanging, and diminish the effect of the entire piece.
Strategies to Crafting a Proper Conclusion
Although there are no strict rules for what style to use to write your conclusion, there are several strategies that have been proven to be effective. In the list below, you can find some of the most effective strategies with some good conclusion paragraph examples to help you grasp the idea.
One effective way to emphasize the significance of your essay and give the audience some thought to ponder about is by taking a look into the future. The “When and If” technique is quite powerful when it comes to supporting your points in the essay’s conclusion.
Prediction essay conclusion example:
“Taking care of a pet is quite hard, which is the reason why most parents refuse their children’s requests to get a pet. However, the refusal should be the last choice of parents. If we want to inculcate a deep sense of responsibility and organization in our kids, and, at the same time, sprout compassion in them, we must let our children take care of pets.”
Another effective strategy is to link your conclusion to your introductory paragraph. This will create a full-circle narration for your readers, create a better understanding of your topic, and emphasize your key point.
Echo conclusion paragraph example:
Introduction: “I believe that all children should grow up with a pet. I still remember the exact day my parents brought my first puppy to our house. This was one of the happiest moments in my life and, at the same time, one of the most life-changing ones. Growing up with a pet taught me a lot, and most importantly, it taught me to be responsible.”
Conclusion:. “I remember when I picked up my first puppy and how happy I was at that time. Growing up with a pet, I learned what it means to take care of someone, make sure that he always has water and food, teach him, and constantly keep an eye on my little companion. Having a child grow up with a pet teaches them responsibility and helps them acquire a variety of other life skills like leadership, love, compassion, and empathy. This is why I believe that every kid should grow up with a pet!”
Finally, one more trick that will help you create a flawless conclusion is to amplify your main idea or to present it in another perspective of a larger context. This technique will help your readers to look at the problem discussed from a different angle.
Step-up argumentative essay conclusion example:
“Despite the obvious advantages of owning a pet in childhood, I feel that we cannot generalize whether all children should have a pet. Whereas some kids may benefit from such experiences, namely, by becoming more compassionate, organized, and responsible, it really depends on the situation, motivation, and enthusiasm of a particular child for owning a pet.”
What is a clincher in an essay? – The final part of an essay’s conclusion is often referred to as a clincher sentence. According to the clincher definition, it is a final sentence that reinforces the main idea or leaves the audience with an intriguing thought to ponder upon. In a nutshell, the clincher is very similar to the hook you would use in an introductory paragraph. Its core mission is to seize the audience’s attention until the end of the paper. At the same time, this statement is what creates a sense of completeness and helps the author leave a lasting impression on the reader.
Now, since you now know what a clincher is, you are probably wondering how to use one in your own paper. First of all, keep in mind that a good clincher should be intriguing, memorable, smooth, and straightforward.
Generally, there are several different tricks you can use for your clincher statement; it can be:
- A short, but memorable and attention-grabbing conclusion;
- A relevant and memorable quote (only if it brings actual value);
- A call to action;
- A rhetorical question;
- An illustrative story or provocative example;
- A warning against a possibility or suggestion about the consequences of a discussed problem;
- A joke (however, be careful with this as it may not always be deemed appropriate).
Regardless of the technique you choose, make sure that your clincher is memorable and aligns with your introduction and thesis.
– While New York may not be the only place with the breathtaking views, it is definitely among my personal to 3… and that’s what definitely makes it worth visiting.
– “Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars”, Divine Comedy
– Don’t you think all these advantages sound like almost life-saving benefits of owning a pet?
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”, The Great Gatsby
Conclusion Writing Don’ts
Now, when you know what tricks and techniques you should use to create a perfect conclusion, let’s look at some of the things you should not do:
- Starting with some cliché concluding sentence starters. Many students find common phrases like “In conclusion,” “Therefore,” “In summary,” or similar statements to be pretty good conclusion starters. However, though such conclusion sentence starters may work in certain cases – for example, in speeches – they are overused, so it is recommended not to use them in writing to introduce your conclusion.
- Putting the first mention of your thesis statement in the conclusion – it has to be presented in your introduction first.
- Providing new arguments, subtopics, or ideas in the conclusion paragraph.
- Including a slightly changed or unchanged thesis statement.
- Providing arguments and evidence that belong in the body of the work.
- Writing too long, hard to read, or confusing sentences.
Conclusion Paragraph Outline
The total number of sentences in your final paragraph may vary depending on the number of points you discussed in your essay, as well as on the overall word count of your paper. However, the overall conclusion paragraph outline will remain the same and consists of the following elements:
- A conclusion starter:
The first part of your paragraph should drive readers back to your thesis statement. Thus, if you were wondering how to start a conclusion, the best way to do it is by rephrasing your thesis statement.
- Summary of the body paragraphs:
Right after revisiting your thesis, you should include several sentences that wrap up the key highlights and points from your body paragraphs. This part of your conclusion can consist of 2-3 sentences—depending on the number of arguments you’ve made. If necessary, you can also explain to the readers how your main points fit together.
- A concluding sentence:
Finally, you should end your paragraph with a last, powerful sentence that leaves a lasting impression, gives a sense of logical completeness, and connects readers back to the introduction of the paper.
These three key elements make up a perfect essay conclusion. Now, to give you an even better idea of how to create a perfect conclusion, let us give you a sample conclusion paragraph outline with examples from an argumentative essay on the topic of “Every Child Should Own a Pet:
This is a clear example of how you can shape your conclusion paragraph.
How to Conclude Various Types of Essays
Depending on the type of academic essay you are working on, your concluding paragraph’s style, tone, and length may vary. In this part of our guide, we will tell you how to end different types of essays and other works.
How to End an Argumentative Essay
Persuasive or argumentative essays always have the single goal of convincing readers of something (an idea, stance, or viewpoint) by appealing to arguments, facts, logic, and even emotions. The conclusion for such an essay has to be persuasive as well. A good trick you can use is to illustrate a real-life scenario that proves your stance or encourages readers to take action.
Here are a few more tips for making a perfect conclusion for an argumentative essay:
- Carefully read the whole essay before you begin;
- Re-emphasize your ideas;
- Discuss possible implications;
- Don’t be afraid to appeal to the reader’s emotions.
How to End a Compare and Contrast Essay
The purpose of a compare and contrast essay is to emphasize the differences or similarities between two or more objects, people, phenomena, etc. Therefore, a logical conclusion should highlight how the reviewed objects are different or similar. Basically, in such a paper, your conclusion should recall all of the key common and distinctive features discussed in the body of your essay and also give readers some food for thought after they finish reading it.
How to Conclude a Descriptive Essay
The key idea of a descriptive essay is to showcase your creativity and writing skills by painting a vivid picture with the help of words. This is one of the most creative types of essays as it requires you to show a story, not tell it. This kind of essay implies using a lot of vivid details. Respectively, the conclusion of such a paper should also use descriptive imagery and, at the same time, sum up the main ideas. A good strategy for ending a descriptive essay would be to begin with a short explanation of why you wrote the essay. Then, you should reflect on how your topic affects you. In the middle of the conclusion, you should cover the most critical moments of the story to smoothly lead the reader into a logical closing statement. The “clincher”, in this case, should be a thought-provoking final sentence that leaves a good and lasting impression on the audience. Do not lead the reader into the essay and then leave them with dwindling memories of it.
How to Conclude an Essay About Yourself
If you find yourself writing an essay about yourself, you need to tell a personal story. As a rule, such essays talk about the author’s experiences, which is why a conclusion should create a feeling of narrative closure. A good strategy is to end your story with a logical finale and the lessons you have learned, while, at the same time, linking it to the introductory paragraph and recalling key moments from the story.
How to End an Informative Essay
Unlike other types of papers, informative or expository essays load readers with a lot of information and facts. In this case, “Synthesize, don’t summarize” is the best technique you can use to end your paper. Simply put, instead of recalling all of the major facts, you should approach your conclusion from the “So what?” position by highlighting the significance of the information provided.
How to Conclude a Narrative Essay
In a nutshell, a narrative essay is based on simple storytelling. The purpose of this paper is to share a particular story in detail. Therefore, the conclusion for such a paper should wrap up the story and avoid finishing on an abrupt cliffhanger. It is vital to include the key takeaways and the lessons learned from the story.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Lab Report
Unlike an essay, a lab report is based on an experiment. This type of paper describes the flow of a particular experiment conducted by a student and its conclusion should reflect on the outcomes of this experiment.
In thinking of how to write a conclusion for a lab, here are the key things you should do to get it right:
- Restate the goals of your experiment
- Describe the methods you used
- Include the results of the experiment and analyze the final data
- End your conclusion with a clear statement on whether or not the experiment was successful (Did you reach the expected results?)
How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper
Writing a research paper conclusion is probably the hardest task of all. Unlike an essay or even a lab report, a research paper is a much longer piece of work that requires a deeper investigation of the problem. Therefore, a conclusion for such a paper should be even more sophisticated and powerful.
However, given that a research paper is the second most popular kind of academic paper (after an essay), it is important to know how to conclude a research paper. Even if you have not yet been assigned to do this task, be sure that you will face it soon. So, here are the steps you should follow to create a great conclusion for a research paper:
- Restate the Topic
Start your final paragraph with a quick reminder of what the topic of the piece is about. Keep it one sentence long.
- Revisit the Thesis
Next, you should remind your readers what your thesis statement was. However, do not just copy and paste it from the introductory clause: paraphrase your thesis so that you deliver the same idea but with different words. Keep your paraphrased thesis narrow, specific, and topic-oriented.
- Summarize Your Key Ideas
Just like the case of a regular essay’s conclusion, a research paper’s final paragraph should also include a short summary of all of the key points stated in the body sections. We recommend reading the entire body part a few times to define all of your main arguments and ideas.
- Showcase the Significance of Your Work
In the research paper conclusion, it is vital to highlight the significance of your research problem and state how your solution could be helpful.
- Make Suggestions for Future Studies
Finally, at the end of your conclusion, you should define how your findings will contribute to the development of its particular field of science. Outline the perspectives of further research and, if necessary, explain what is yet to be discovered on the topic.
Then, end your conclusion with a powerful concluding sentence – it can be a rhetorical question, call to action, or another hook that will help you have a strong impact on the audience.
- Answer the Right Questions
To create a top-notch research paper conclusion, be sure to answer the following questions:
- So what?
- What is the goal of a research paper?
- What are the possible solutions to the research question(s)?
- How can your results be implemented in real life? (Is your research paper helpful to the community?)
- Why is this study important and relevant?
Additionally, here are a few more handy tips to follow:
- Provide clear examples from real life to help readers better understand the further implementation of the stated solutions;
- Keep your conclusion fresh, original, and creative.
So, What Is a Good Closing Sentence? See The Difference
One of the best ways to learn how to write a good conclusion is to look at several professional essay conclusion examples. In this section of our guide, we are going to look at two different final paragraphs shaped on the basis of the same template, but even so, they are very different – where one is weak and the other is strong. Below, we are going to compare them to help you understand the difference between a good and a bad conclusion.
Here is the template we used:
College degrees are in decline. The price of receiving an education does not correlate with the quality of the education received. As a result, graduated students face underemployment, and the worth of college degrees appears to be in serious doubt. However, the potential social and economic benefits of educated students balance out the equation.
People either see college as an opportunity or an inconvenience; therefore, a degree can only hold as much value as its owner’s skillset. The underemployment of graduate students puts the worth of college degrees in serious doubt. Yet, with the multitude of benefits that educated students bring to society and the economy, the equation remains in balance. Perhaps the ordinary person should consider college as a wise financial investment, but only if they stay determined to study and do the hard work.
Why is this example good? There are several key points that prove its effectiveness:
- There is a bold opening statement that encompasses the two contrasting types of students we can see today.
- There are two sentences that recall the thesis statement and cover the key arguments from the body of the essay.
- Finally, the last sentence sums up the key message of the essay and leaves readers with something to think about.
In conclusion, with the poor preparation of students in college and the subsequent underemployment after graduation from college, the worth associated with the college degree appears to be in serious doubt. However, these issues alone may not reasonably conclude beyond a doubt that investing in a college degree is a rewarding venture. When the full benefits that come with education are carefully put into consideration and evaluated, college education for children in any country still has good advantages, and society should continue to advocate for a college education. The ordinary person should consider this a wise financial decision that holds rewards in the end. Apart from the monetary gains associated with a college education, society will greatly benefit from students when they finish college. Their minds are going to be expanded, and their reasoning and decision making will be enhanced.
What makes this example bad? Here are a few points to consider:
- Unlike the first example, this paragraph is long and not specific enough. The author provides plenty of generalized phrases that are not backed up by actual arguments.
- This piece is hard to read and understand and sentences have a confusing structure. Also, there are lots of repetitions and too many uses of the word “college”.
- There is no summary of the key benefits.
- The last two sentences that highlight the value of education contradict with the initial statement.
- Finally, the last sentence doesn’t offer a strong conclusion and gives no thought to ponder upon.
- In the body of your essay, you have hopefully already provided your reader(s) with plenty of information. Therefore, it is not wise to present new arguments or ideas in your conclusion.
- To end your final paragraph right, find a clear and straightforward message that will have the most powerful impact on your audience.
- Don’t use more than one quote in the final clause of your paper – the information from external sources (including quotes) belongs in the body of a paper.
- Be authoritative when writing a conclusion. You should sound confident and convincing to leave a good impression. Sentences like “I’m not an expert, but…” will most likely make you seem less knowledgeable and/or credible.
Good Conclusion Examples
Now that we’ve learned what a conclusion is and how to write one let’s take a look at some essay conclusion examples to strengthen our knowledge.
The ending ironically reveals that all was for nothing. (A short explanation of the thematic effect of the book’s end) Tom says that Miss Watson freed Jim in her final will.Jim told Huck that the dead man on the Island was pap. The entire adventure seemingly evaporated into nothingness. (How this effect was manifested into the minds of thereaders).
All in all, international schools hold the key to building a full future that students can achieve. (Thesis statement simplified)
They help students develop their own character by learning from their mistakes, without having to face a dreadful penalty for failure. (Thesis statement elaborated)Although some say that kids emerged “spoiled” with this mentality, the results prove the contrary. (Possible counter-arguments are noted)
In conclusion, public workers should be allowed to strike since it will give them a chance to air their grievances. (Thesis statement)
Public workers should be allowed to strike when their rights, safety, and regulations are compromised. The workers will get motivated when they strike, and their demands are met.
In summary, studies reveal some similarities in the nutrient contents between the organic and non-organic food substances. (Starts with similarities)
However, others have revealed many considerable differences in the amounts of antioxidants as well as other minerals present in organic and non-organic foods. Generally, organic foods have higher levels of antioxidants than non-organic foods and therefore are more important in the prevention of chronic illnesses.
As time went by, my obsession grew into something bigger than art; (‘As time went by’ signals maturation) it grew into a dream of developing myself for the world. (Showing student’s interest of developing himself for the community)
It is a dream of not only seeing the world from a different perspective but also changing the perspective of people who see my work. (Showing student’s determination to create moving pieces of art)
In conclusion, it is evident that technology is an integral part of our lives and without it, we become “lost” since we have increasingly become dependent on its use. (Thesis with main point)