The conclusion paragraph is not simply the “last” paragraph in your essay; it is the elegant “final bow” to your reader that fulfills the promise of your introduction. Also, it is not just a restatement of the essay thesis. It represents the writer’s final opportunity to impress the reader (and, more importantly, the teacher who is grading it) as well as to reemphasize the the purpose and importance of the writing. The conclusion paragraph can also point the way to further investigation or be a call for action as it points to other paths of inquiry. This article describes some (but not all) suggested steps in writing a successful conclusion paragraph.
What you need to get to the end
Above all, you need to already have crafted a strong thesis that has been well stated and vigorously defended. Then, of course, you’ll need an idea on how to summarize the main points you made in the paper, which is basically an idea of what your writing was all about. Now follow the below steps in crafting your final paragraph:
Important! Don’t start writing just yet.
Go over your introductory paragraph and the supporting paragraphs of the paper. The conclusion paragraph is no place to bring up something new or to cram in some new point that will distract the reader. Also, do not use the conclusion paragraph to mention something you promised to cover in your introductory paragraph but never got to. Go back and revise your introductory paragraph if you need to. Think of your conclusion paragraph as the “elegant exit” from a well-written paper. Also remember the old saying, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” In other words, if your paper is lousy, a conclusion paragraph won’t help much.
Now you’re ready to write
Write a transition sentence to ease the reader into your final argument. The technique for writing the final transition sentence is no different from any other transition sentence. You ease the reader from the previous idea to the next. You use devices like “therefore,” or “even so.” Follow the advice of the UNC writing center, but remember that you’re transitioning to your conclusion. Try using a general rhetorical question, for example (something like, “What does all the evidence presented so far mean to our efforts to…?”
Write a brief summary of the paper’s main points
If you have done a good job with your thesis statement, its supporting elements and covering all that in the middle paragraphs of your paper, you merely have to find a good way of saying, “See? I told you so!” You have only to point to your promise in your introductory paragraph and state how you carried it out in the rest of your essay.
Then bring it all together with a call for action!
This is one of the most important elements of a conclusion paragraph. Do this well, and all parts of your essay will hang together as an elegant example of great writing. This is really the “so what?” part of your writing. Your call to action can be either urgent or mild. If your writing is advocating some corrective action, and you have made your point well, ask your reader to get busy. If you’re just trying to make the case that Huckleberry Finn is the great American novel, challenge your reader to check out writers who agree with you.
Your conclusion paragraph is your opportunity for an elegant way to “bring it home” to your reader. Recapitulate, but do not just restate your thesis in the your conclusion paragraph. Always avoid the hackneyed phrase, “In conclusion….” in your conclusion paragraph. Never, ever bring up new ideas. If you think of one, go back to your essay and write it up. And remember: leave the reader with the notion that your arguments are solid and that you are confident.