How to Write a Conclusion for an Essay

A proper introduction is key to winning the reader’s attention. However, the way you conclude an essay is crucial too. When you get to the end of your writing, you get one last chance to convince your audience and produce an impression that will make the reader think about your paper even after finishing it.

“OK, but how exactly should I write a conclusion for my essay?” The answer is, “It depends.”

There are various essay types and many ways in which you can approach your closing paragraph. However, there’s one common thing — your conclusion should provide the reader with a sense of closure and completeness. Believe it or not, you can do that without sealing off the discussion entirely. Below, we’ll tell you about the most common ways you can end a paper, and we’ll show you a few examples of conclusions to illustrate our point.

How Do I End an Essay Then?

At a high-school or university level, you won’t get off by just summarizing your essay body paragraphs. Although it’s sometimes seen as a summary of your main points, it’s much more than that. Do you know what the serial position effect is? In essence, it implies that we remember the first and the last items from a list better than those in the middle. The theory of primacy and recency provides a similar statement: our brain pays the second closest attention to the last thing it perceives. So, your final paragraph is what will stick in your reader’s memory, along with the first one. It’s the best place to bring out the importance of your topic and the strength of your arguments.

In order to write a conclusion and end an essay, you should:

  1. Rephrase your thesis statement and central points;
  2. (Optional) Refer to opposite views;
  3. Use one of the techniques below for your closing sentence.

Note: When writing your conclusion, you can go from more specific details to a broader context.

How do I paraphrase my thesis statement?

Paraphrasing means using different words to say the same thing. Look at the samples below to learn how you can do it.

Original:

The use of technology and screen tune can be positive for children as it allows them to excel academically by experiencing the expanding definitions of classrooms and literacy as a whole, improving low-performing developmental skills, and supplementing in-class education for more academically-advanced students.

Paraphrased:

By using technology and screen time, you can provide a comprehensive and positive educational experience for children and adolescents. Technology facilitates in-class learning, enhances underperforming developmental skills, and allows children to succeed in their studies by embracing the broadening definition of a classroom environment and overall education.

Start with a rephrased thesis statement. It’s a great way to take the reader back to the heart of your essay. Then, summarize the main points from your body paragraphs. And, if there are no other standpoints to review, move to step three, which is described in detail further in this article. Also, you can put your restated thesis at the very beginning or later. You can start with an opening sentence first, for instance. The one rule you must keep in mind is that you shouldn’t repeat your thesis statement letter for letter.

Note: Synthesize the main points of your essay. That means you don’t just list them one after another but explain their impact and how they are correlated.

You can experiment with how you place these parts, so there isn’t a fixed order for them to follow.

Next, provide some additional context for the reader. It’s the third and the last point on our list. You can choose from several options: underscore the weight of your argument, ask more questions, encourage action, compare, or quote someone authoritative in your field. Many strategies exist, but what you pick depends mainly on your topic.

A strong essay conclusion goes beyond recapping. Now, let’s dive deeper and explore how you can finish your paper and what you shouldn’t do.

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Eight closing methods

Depending on what you’re writing, the way you wrap it up can vary. It can tie up loose ends, ask a rhetorical question, call to action, or suggest the implications of the topic. Anyhow, we advise you to consult with your tutor or professor when you don’t know whether you can use a particular technique for your essay conclusion.

1. Consider a broader scope

Set the discussion into a wider context. By casting a different light on the main topic, you can help the reader take a fresh look at it and reassess their viewpoint.

2. Debate the ambiguity

Tell the audience why there can’t be one exhaustive answer. Often, you can’t say that something is good or bad because you’re in this gray zone of discourse. If you think your topic is that kind of subject, you can write about it in your final paragraph.

3. Ask other questions

Show what important questions result from your essay and are worth being studied in future works. Such a finisher can leave the reader contemplating long after the last word of your essay is read. Moreover, a rhetorical question can also help you end the paper without closing the discussion.

4. Try to predict

You’re not a prophet (or are you?), but you can assume the implications for the subject under discussion by using logic and deduction. Ask yourself, “How will this affect the world? How will things develop if no measures are taken?” You can apply this way of closing your essay if you’re writing about a problem and its possible solutions or observing a phenomenon.

5. Challenge or call to action

This method is usually used to end persuasive speeches and make people take action. If your essay casts light on a big issue and the ways to deal with it, you also can conclude by calling your audience to do something about it.

6. Echo the introduction

It’s a subtle way to wrap up the paper in case you want to close the circle and use the same scenario you used at the beginning. But don’t forget to rephrase it! This one suits best for a personal or a narrative essay. You can also refer to an idiom or a quote you used in the introduction to loop your paper.

7. Conclude with a quote

Another way is to end your essay with a quote. But ensure it belongs to somebody competent and linked to your topic and fits the context perfectly.

Note: Learn more about citing sources in your essay by reading this article: How to Cite an Article in an Essay.

8. Indicate the most important point

In case you just plan to show the final verdict you have arrived at, you can highlight it in your last sentence. This one will work if you can extract one big conclusion from everything you wrote.

How NOT to end an essay

Besides writing what you should do while concluding an essay, we composed a list of things you shouldn’t do as well. Yes, it’s tricky to bring your paper to an end the proper way, but it’s not impossible. You’ve invested so much effort into writing, so you may want to finish it up quickly — it’s only natural. However, you must not fall into this trap.

In your conclusion paragraph, DON’T:

  • Present any new arguments, proof, and details
  • Make things look too simple
  • Use meaningless cliches that only sound nice
  • Belittle your abilities and make excuses
  • Summarize the essay, esp. if it’s a small one
  • Make your argument look weak
  • Rephrase thesis statement without anything else
  • Create a list-like ending that’s repetitive
  • Put emphasis on a weaker argument
  • Use transition words like “to sum up” or “in summary”

Can’t I just summarize an essay at the end?

Technically, you can. But it’s a bad practice to end just with a recap of the essay, so ensure to add other parts as well. If you don’t want your work to be evaluated as middle-school level writing, go beyond rehashing the content.

Why can’t I add new information?

If you introduce new arguments and ideas at the end, you’ll only confuse the reader. The person evaluating your essay will probably think that you can’t organize your thoughts well, which will result in a reduced grade.

If nothing from the list above is in your closing paragraph, you are on the right track.

Essay conclusion examples

These were handpicked from reliable sources so that you could learn how to write your own conclusion. As you’ll see, the length and format vary according to the topic, paper type, and author’s outlook. Also, if you think your essay conclusion example fits the criteria, you can send it in by using our “Helpful” form below. If it’s good, we will add it here.

Mini-FAQ

What is a conclusion in an essay?

An essay’s conclusion is your last paragraph where you put together all the puzzle pieces to create a complete picture composed of your rephrased thesis statement, reviewed and synthesized evidence, and a sentence that would expose your topic in a broader context.

How to start a conclusion in an essay?

You can begin by paraphrasing your thesis statement to remind the reader (who’s generally your professor) about the main subject of the essay.

How to end a conclusion in an essay?

You can reemphasize the main conclusion you have reached or try other methods like asking a question that derives from your findings, encouraging the reader to take action, citing a quote of a subject matter expert, or assuming how things will develop in the future.

How to end an essay with a bang?

Only a powerful conclusion can leave a strong impression on the audience. You can achieve that by drawing on such human emotions as fear, awe, anxiety, confusion, disgust, interest, nostalgia, or sympathy.

How to conclude without saying “in conclusion”?

You can just state it. You don’t have to use any special phrases, and just start concluding. The better variants of phrases you can use instead of “in conclusion” are: in the final analysis; on the whole; on a final note; given all the factors we have discussed.

The list of references

  1. Ending the Essay — Harvard College Writing Center
  2. Writing Effective Endings — University of Richmond Writing Center
  3. Concluding an Essay — Purdue Online Writing Lab
  4. Finishing a Paper — The University of Maryland
  5. Conclusion Writing — Monash University

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