You’re faced with writing a difficult piece. You spend days working through your ideas and revising it until the introduction and body paragraphs are just what you want them to be. To end your essay, you need a way to wrap up your thoughts, give the reader something to think about, and leave them with a good final impression. Here are a few techniques to help you write an effective conclusion paragraph.
Types of Conclusion Paragraphs
When determining what to write about in your conclusion paragraph, remember that you should at least restate your thesis and main points. There are a few different types of conclusion paragraphs that you can consider when crafting one for your writing. Some of them include:
- Summary: A summary of your main points.
- Framing: A paragraph that circles back to the introduction, revisiting the metaphor or other device used at the beginning.
- Call to Action: A call to the readers, asking them to take a particular action related to the theme of the writing.
- Anecdote: An interesting story that leaves a great impression.
- Quotation: A thought-provoking quotation about the topic.
- Universal: A discussion of how the topic relates to a broader, more universal topic.
- Question for Future Study: A question relating to the ideas from your writing for the reader to study on his or her own.
So, which type of conclusion paragraph should you write? It depends on the style of writing. Think about the style of writing the subject matter uses. Which of the types would best suit your writing and speak to your readers? After you’ve determined the type of conclusion to use, follow these do’s and don’ts to strengthen your writing.
1. Do Transition into Your Conclusion Paragraph
For the most part, your writing should naturally lead into the conclusion. Your reader will know that you’re about to end your paper and will know to treat the final paragraph(s) as the conclusion. However, you could use transition words to cue the reader to the end. This is especially helpful when preparing a speech. Just be careful not to use transition words or phrases that are too overused, such as “in conclusion” or “to sum up.” Other transition words that you could use are “incidentally,” “to summarize,” or “given these points.”
2. Do Maintain the Tone of the Writing
If you spent 10 pages developing your ideas with one tone, don’t switch the tone at the very end. For example, after writing a research paper with an objective tone, you shouldn’t use an overly emotional, subjective appeal at the end. Or, if you wrote an emotional piece, the conclusion isn’t the time to start stating statistics and facts. Doing this will confuse your reader. Think about the entire essay as a whole as you determine how to craft the perfect tone for your conclusion paragraph.
3. Do Bring a Sense of Closure
If your introduction poses a question, then you should be sure to answer that question in your conclusion. Even if you don’t pose a question in your introduction, you need to wrap up all of your ideas. If you don’t take the time to provide your reader with a sense of closure at the end, they may feel empty and unsatisfied. So, find a way to wrap up your ideas to leave your reader satisfied and content.
4. Do Clarify the Significance of the Writing
Why should your reader care about your essay? What is the significance of the ideas that you presented? Why did you take the time to write about this particular subject? Although you may hope that your reader would pick up on this while reading your work, you shouldn’t assume that they’ll figure it out on their own. So, spell it out for your readers. Let them know what they should learn from your writing.
5. Don’t Reuse Your Thesis Statement
One of the biggest faux pas that people make when writing their conclusion paragraph involves restating the thesis statement. Yes, you should return to your thesis statement. Unfortunately, many people choose to write their thesis statement verbatim from the introduction. Your reader will recognize that the conclusion is a rehash of your thesis statement, which will leave a negative impression. After they’ve read the rest of the essay in its entirety, you don’t want to repel them by reusing your thesis statement and appearing as a lazy writer. This will undermine you as a writer and reduce your credibility on the subject.
6. Don’t Just Summarize Your Writing
Summarizing your writing in the conclusion is one of the types that we discussed earlier. This type is the desirable way to end a really long essay. For shorter pieces, however, summarizing your writing is an overly simplistic way to end. This is why it’s important to think about your writing before you decide which conclusion type to choose. Although it’s beneficial to include a brief summary of your main points, consider adding something more to your conclusion that would leave a great final impression.
7. Don’t Bring Up New Information
Whether you’re writing a 5-paragraph essay or a 20-page research paper, don’t use your conclusion to introduce new ideas. There are some conclusion types that may call for new information, especially posing a question for future study. However, the goal of your conclusion is to remind your readers of your main points and their significance. This is going to be difficult to do if you’re brining up new ideas that you haven’t explored in your writing already. So as a general rule, just use the conclusion for emphasizing the main points of your paper.
8. Don’t Focus on Only One Point
Let’s say that you wrote a 5-paragraph essay. In that essay, you presented an introduction with a solid thesis statement. Then, you went on to describe three main points to support your thesis. To complete your essay, you turn to your conclusion. Even if one of the three main points was the most important, you shouldn’t solely focus on that point. Your conclusion should give you an opportunity to review all of the main points of your paper.
If you choose to leave out the other two points in your conclusion paragraph, your readers are going to wonder why you even bothered including these points in your paper. So, even if one of your main points is the most important to you or what you’re discussing, your conclusion should briefly summarize all the points from your paper.
9. Don’t Apologize
Throughout your writing, your goal is to convince your readers that you are a credible source of information. To do this, you can employ facts, data, quotations, and more. However, all of the work to build your credibility will come crashing down if you make this common mistake with your conclusion paragraph. That mistake involves apologizing for any weaknesses in your writing.
Some people make the decision to end their writing with an apology for any informational errors or faulty logic. Whatever the case may be, this leaves the reader questioning your credibility and the validity of your argument. If you feel the need to apologize for your work, you should probably work on revisions instead. Keep working on it until you feel confident sending your writing to your readers without having to apologize for anything.
No matter how you choose to end your writing, make sure that you’re doing it in a way that will leave your reader with a good, final impression. Following these simple do’s and don’ts will help you craft an elevated conclusion paragraph that will bring closure to your writing, and leave your readers thinking about your ideas.
What are some of the tricks that you’ve used to end your writing? What tips do you have for writing an effective conclusion paragraph? Tell us your ideas in the comments below.