One of my students recently asked about the concluding paragraph. He was stressing a bit about an essay he needed to write, and he was not sure how to go about addressing the concluding paragraph.
He was not wrong to be thinking about the final paragraph of his essay. The end of any writing structure is important. The end of your sentences, the last sentence of a stand-alone paragraph, the last chapter of a book, and the last paragraph of an essay all need to pack a punch – so to speak.
You want your endings to be powerful, and you want your conclusions to actually conclude.
Too often, students simply STOP. They have said everything they had planned and consider the essay done.
Please do not do that. Also, don’t stress. Take writing the concluding paragraph as methodically as you do the rest of your essay.
Begin with a restatement of your thesis. This does not mean “copy and paste” your thesis into the first sentence of your conclusion. You want to restate it in a different way. Of course, it must retain the core argument, but you can add bits and rearrange the thoughts to avoid absolute repetition.
Then begin to remind the reader of your primary arguments and, in brief, why they work.
Not the end!
While your concluding paragraph marks the end of your essay, it should not mark the end of thought. You want your reader to continue thinking about your written work. The conclusion should give the reader the feeling that you have pulled everything together and explained yourself well, but it should also prompt them to agree or disagree.
Sometimes, you might have a call to action in your conclusion. In this case, if the essay was persuasive enough and written well, some readers will be encouraged to do something to affect change.
For example, an essay about pollution could encourage readers to find innovative ways to reduce waste. An essay about the health benefits of exercise might motivate readers to make personal life changes.
You might end with a question or a series of questions, encouraging readers to think more about your topic and your main points.
In other words, the concluding paragraph needs to be powerful, engaging, and encourage readers to keep thinking and drawing their own conclusions which may or may not agree with yours.
Start with a restatement of your thesis.
Point out your strong points and remind the reader of your arguments in brief.
Motivate your reader to keep thinking.
Overall, don’t forget to have fun with your writing – whatever your topic. Try to engage yourself and commit to learning more about the topic while you try to inform, persuade, and draw in your audience.
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