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- How to conclude an essay | Interactive example
How to Conclude an Essay | Interactive Example
Published on January 24, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on December 6, 2021.
The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay . A strong conclusion aims to:
- Tie together the essay’s main points
- Show why your argument matters
- Leave the reader with a strong impression
Your conclusion should give a sense of closure and completion to your argument, but also show what new questions or possibilities it has opened up.
This conclusion is taken from our annotated essay example , which discusses the history of the Braille system. Hover over each part to see why it’s effective.
Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.
Table of contents
Step 1: return to your thesis, step 2: review your main points, step 3: show why it matters, what shouldn’t go in the conclusion, more examples of essay conclusions, frequently asked questions about writing an essay conclusion.
To begin your conclusion, signal that the essay is coming to an end by returning to your overall argument.
Don’t just repeat your thesis statement —instead, try to rephrase your argument in a way that shows how it has been developed since the introduction.
Next, remind the reader of the main points that you used to support your argument.
Avoid simply summarizing each paragraph or repeating each point in order; try to bring your points together in a way that makes the connections between them clear. The conclusion is your final chance to show how all the paragraphs of your essay add up to a coherent whole.
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To wrap up your conclusion, zoom out to a broader view of the topic and consider the implications of your argument. For example:
- Does it contribute a new understanding of your topic?
- Does it raise new questions for future study?
- Does it lead to practical suggestions or predictions?
- Can it be applied to different contexts?
- Can it be connected to a broader debate or theme?
Whatever your essay is about, the conclusion should aim to emphasize the significance of your argument, whether that’s within your academic subject or in the wider world.
Try to end with a strong, decisive sentence, leaving the reader with a lingering sense of interest in your topic.
The easiest way to improve your conclusion is to eliminate these common mistakes.
Don’t include new evidence
Any evidence or analysis that is essential to supporting your thesis statement should appear in the main body of the essay.
The conclusion might include minor pieces of new information—for example, a sentence or two discussing broader implications, or a quotation that nicely summarizes your central point. But it shouldn’t introduce any major new sources or ideas that need further explanation to understand.
Don’t use “concluding phrases”
Avoid using obvious stock phrases to tell the reader what you’re doing:
- “In conclusion…”
- “To sum up…”
These phrases aren’t forbidden, but they can make your writing sound weak. By returning to your main argument, it will quickly become clear that you are concluding the essay—you shouldn’t have to spell it out.
Don’t undermine your argument
Avoid using apologetic phrases that sound uncertain or confused:
- “This is just one approach among many.”
- “There are good arguments on both sides of this issue.”
- “There is no clear answer to this problem.”
Even if your essay has explored different points of view, your own position should be clear. There may be many possible approaches to the topic, but you want to leave the reader convinced that yours is the best one!
- Literary analysis
This conclusion is taken from an argumentative essay about the internet’s impact on education. It acknowledges the opposing arguments while taking a clear, decisive position.
The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.
This conclusion is taken from a short expository essay that explains the invention of the printing press and its effects on European society. It focuses on giving a clear, concise overview of what was covered in the essay.
The invention of the printing press was important not only in terms of its immediate cultural and economic effects, but also in terms of its major impact on politics and religion across Europe. In the century following the invention of the printing press, the relatively stationary intellectual atmosphere of the Middle Ages gave way to the social upheavals of the Reformation and the Renaissance. A single technological innovation had contributed to the total reshaping of the continent.
This conclusion is taken from a literary analysis essay about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein . It summarizes what the essay’s analysis achieved and emphasizes its originality.
By tracing the depiction of Frankenstein through the novel’s three volumes, I have demonstrated how the narrative structure shifts our perception of the character. While the Frankenstein of the first volume is depicted as having innocent intentions, the second and third volumes—first in the creature’s accusatory voice, and then in his own voice—increasingly undermine him, causing him to appear alternately ridiculous and vindictive. Far from the one-dimensional villain he is often taken to be, the character of Frankenstein is compelling because of the dynamic narrative frame in which he is placed. In this frame, Frankenstein’s narrative self-presentation responds to the images of him we see from others’ perspectives. This conclusion sheds new light on the novel, foregrounding Shelley’s unique layering of narrative perspectives and its importance for the depiction of character.
Your essay’s conclusion should contain:
- A rephrased version of your overall thesis
- A brief review of the key points you made in the main body
- An indication of why your argument matters
The conclusion may also reflect on the broader implications of your argument, showing how your ideas could applied to other contexts or debates.
For a stronger conclusion paragraph, avoid including:
- Important evidence or analysis that wasn’t mentioned in the main body
- Generic concluding phrases (e.g. “In conclusion…”)
- Weak statements that undermine your argument (e.g. “There are good points on both sides of this issue.”)
Your conclusion should leave the reader with a strong, decisive impression of your work.
The conclusion paragraph of an essay is usually shorter than the introduction . As a rule, it shouldn’t take up more than 10–15% of the text.
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- Ending the Essay: Conclusions
So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.
The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.
To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:
- Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
- Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
- Conclude with a sentence that's compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.
To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:
- Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you're writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point. For example, you might conclude an essay on the idea of home in James Joyce's short story collection, Dubliners , with information about Joyce's own complex feelings towards Dublin, his home. Or you might end with a biographer's statement about Joyce's attitude toward Dublin, which could illuminate his characters' responses to the city. Just be cautious, especially about using secondary material: make sure that you get the last word.
- Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like 60 Minutes .
- Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument. For example, an essay on Marx's treatment of the conflict between wage labor and capital might begin with Marx's claim that the "capitalist economy is . . . a gigantic enterprise of dehumanization "; the essay might end by suggesting that Marxist analysis is itself dehumanizing because it construes everything in economic -- rather than moral or ethical-- terms.
- Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, or involve, or suggest? For example, an essay on the novel Ambiguous Adventure , by the Senegalese writer Cheikh Hamidou Kane, might open with the idea that the protagonist's development suggests Kane's belief in the need to integrate Western materialism and Sufi spirituality in modern Senegal. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible.
Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:
- Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
- Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up." These phrases can be useful--even welcome--in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
- Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay. As a result, by the time you've finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you've produced. (And if you haven't immersed yourself in your subject, you may be feeling even more doubtful about your essay as you approach the conclusion.) Repress those doubts. Don't undercut your authority by saying things like, "this is just one approach to the subject; there may be other, better approaches. . ."
Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University
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What Is a Conclusion of an Essay: Outline and Purpose
How to write a conclusion paragraph.
- 18 Good Conclusion Paragraph Examples
Effective strategies to conclude an essay, bottom line.
One of the crucial parts of a writing piece is an essay conclusion. it is the last paragraph that creates the final impression from a paper. It is not enough just to summarize what was written in the body part. A writer must make the reader want to continue exploring the problem, share the author’s position, or finally get a clear understanding of an issue . It all depends on the essay type. Our essay writer team has come up with essay conclusion examples and useful tips to help students master the art of concluding an essay logically and effectively. Check them out!
Conclusion is the last paragraph of any academic writing, no matter whether it is a school five paragraph essay or college research paper. It is a compulsory structural part of an essay that gives a sense of closure. The purpose of writing a conclusion is to restate the main idea, summarize the key points discussed in the body of the paper showing how they support or prove your thesis, and draw a general conclusion .
What to write in a conclusion paragraph? A typical conclusion outline has three structural components:
- Restated thesis statement.
- Summary of the key points.
- General conclusion or ideas for broader implications of an issue.
Don’t know how to start essay conclusions? No worries! We have prepared useful tips to help you write a good conclusion for your essay. Follow these simple steps:
- Restate the thesis statement . Start your essay conclusion with reminding readers of the main idea of your paper. However, do not just copy-paste the sentence from the introduction paragraph . You should present the same claim but using different words.
- Summarize the main points . Proceed with analysis and summary the key ideas you have discussed in the body paragraphs. Show how these arguments support and prove your thesis statement.
- Sum up the whole essay . After analyzing the major ideas of the paper, draw up a general essay conclusion. If you do not know how to do it, try answering the So-what?-question. In case you write a conclusion for a research paper, you may be asked to identify the knowledge gap. Also, you may specify broader implications of the issue in the larger context for future research.
18 Good Conclusion Paragraph Examples
We have prepared essay conclusions for different types of papers. Check them out for better understanding of how to write a conclusion.
The purpose of argumentative paper is to take a stand on an issue. Check these argumentative essay conclusion examples to make your essay convincing.
The purpose of this essay type is to persuade the readers. Look through persuasive essay conclusion examples to understand how to write a conclusion that will help you win over the audience.
Critical thinking is required in this essay type. You should be able to analyze the whole piece of writing to create a strong final paragraph. Have a look at these analysis essay conclusion examples to get a general idea.
Wondering how to write a literary analysis ? Check out our guide.
These essays are easy to write. The purpose of the narrative essay conclusion is to sum up everything described and discussed in the essay.
Expository essays aim to describe or explain ideas, notions, phenomena, etc. to the reader. Such papers require research to support the ideas and be able to provide evidence. Check out a conclusion sample of an expository essay.
Are you assigned to write an exposition? Check our blog post to find out what is an expository essay and how to write it successfully.
Look at the English essay conclusion example below. It may refer to any type of paper.
There exist several most common approaches that allow to conclude an essay logically and reasonably. Here they are.
- So what? This is the most common strategy. It presupposes summing up the paper by giving an answer to a short question So-what?
- Giving a larger context. This strategy mainly applies to the research papers. The main idea is to mention the areas of the issue that need further investigation.
- Rhetorical question . It is a provocative and intriguing question that does not need an answer. It gives readers food for thought. However, such conclusions might be not very effective in academic papers.
Also, we would like to remind you that there are some details that should not be included in the conclusion paragraph. Avoid:
- Retelling what was written in the paper
- Presenting new ideas
- Introducing facts or arguments that contradict the info discussed in the essay
- Adding in-text citations
- Copy-pasting sentences from the intro or body paragraphs
- Using phrases like in conclusion, in summary, to sum up, etc.
Essay conclusion is an essential part of a paper. If you miss it or make it weak, your essay will be incomplete. Thus, try your best to conclude an essay with a strong and balanced final paragraph. It should resonate with the essay introduction and body paragraphs, summarize the whole paper, and be written using parallel sentence structures. Have a close look at conclusion sentence examples to ensure you are able to conclude an essay appropriately. If you have some questions or need help with your essay conclusion, you may ask for writing assistance. Experienced writers will help you write a logical and reasonable essay conclusion.
1. What are the components of a conclusion?
Essay conclusion usually has three main parts. They are: restated thesis statement, summary of the key points, and general conclusion. Make sure you include these parts in the final part to conclude an essay appropriately. Mind that just repeating the thesis and ideas will not work. Show your ability to analyze.
2. How to begin a conclusion?
In the last paragraph synthesize and summarize your paper. A reasonable conclusion starts with reminding readers the main idea of an essay. Make sure to paraphrase your thesis statement. Otherwise, it might seem you don’t really understand the point. Also, avoid starting the paragraph with such words as in conclusion, in summary, to conclude, to sum up, etc. It looks primitive and unprofessional.
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A topic sentence is an important part of your essay. Its basic function is to help you organize each paragraph by summing up its information in a brief manner to make it easier for readers to grab your point. Use topic sentence examples to write good topic sentences. Without them, your academic pape...
The essay introduction serves as a quick test of your text: if the first paragraph is well-written, the rest of the text may be superb. If you fail with making a good introduction, there’s no matter how exceptional your body and conclusion are because nobody will ever read it. Every essay writer onl...
7 Helpful Tips on How to Write A Memorable Personal Essay
Everyone has a story to tell and a message to share. The challenge lies in getting that story and message out of your head and into print in a way that resonates with your audience.
Starting somewhere in the late 2000s, a certain type of personal essay experienced a popularity boom. These essays were ultra-personal and confessional in nature, often in a TMI sort of way. Their headlines were clickable, not to mention shareable, for their shock value alone.
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Although the confessional shock essay’s star seems to be fading, the personal essay itself is still standing strong. Essay collections by late greats like James Baldwin ( The Fire Next Time ) and David Foster Wallace ( Consider the Lobster ) still top Amazon’s Best Sellers in essays. Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) launched a career with her darkly funny and self-effacing essays about her health and mental illness challenges ( Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ). Celebrities like Mindy Kaling ( Why Not Me? ) and Tina Fey ( Bossypants ) blended personal essays into memoir-esque collections that became best sellers. We head for the nearest bookseller when essay titans like David Sedaris or Anne Lamott have a new release.
We’re looking for real stories and musings from people who are able to share their foibles, lessons, and truths in a way we can relate to. Here are seven tips to help you craft a personal essay that will connect with readers.
1 Understand what a personal essay is
Ask three different experts what a personal essay is and you’ll likely get three different answers. Are they structured? Must they address a certain type of subject? Here’s a definition we like:
A personal essay is a short work of autobiographical nonfiction characterized by a sense of intimacy and a conversational manner. Also called a personal statement. A type of creative nonfiction, the personal essay is ‘all over the map,’ according to Annie Dillard. ‘There’s nothing you can’t do with it. No subject matter is forbidden, no structure is prescribed. You get to make up your own form every time.’
Personal essays relate the author’s intimate thoughts and experiences to universal truths. They aren’t simply a retelling of events, though—that falls more in the realm of memoir or autobiography. They conclude with the author having learned, changed, or grown in some way and often present some truth or insight that challenges the reader to draw their own conclusions.
2 Find a compelling topic
The best essay topics are often deeply relatable. Although the story itself is unique to the author’s experience, there’s some universal truth that speaks to us from just below the surface. Topics like facing a fear, falling in love, overcoming an obstacle, discovering something new, or making a difficult choice tackle feelings and events that happen in everyone’s life.
3 Start with a strong hook
As with any type of writing, it’s essential to draw the reader in from the very first paragraph , or even the first sentence. Here are a few examples.
Aside from Peter, who supposedly guards the gates of heaven and is a pivotal figure in any number of jokes, the only saint who’s ever remotely interested me is Francis of Assisi, who was friends with the animals.
When I was young, my family didn’t go on outings to the circus or trips to Disneyland. We couldn’t afford them. Instead, we stayed in our small rural West Texas town, and my parents took us to cemeteries.
I underwent, during the summer that I became fourteen, a prolonged religious crisis.
Alone, we are doomed. By the same token, we’ve learned that people are impossible, even the ones we love most— especially the ones we love most.
Your hook and opening paragraph should establish the topic of your essay (or at least allude to it) and set the scene and tone.
4 Create an outline
All it takes to understand the importance of an outline is listening to someone who struggled to tell a personal story. Often, the story will seem to have no real point. The switchbacks where the teller says “But wait, I have to tell you about this part, first!” are maddening and disruptive. An outline will help you organize your thoughts before committing them to text.
Consider your opening hook and the statement it makes, then map out the sequence of events or main points that support it. Just like a good fictional story, your essay should have rising action. Raise the stakes with each paragraph until you reach a climax or turning point. Plan to add a conclusion that will evoke an emotional response in your reader.
5 Narrow your focus
Don’t try to write to a general topic. Your essay may well be about sexism, but you need to illustrate it through the lens of a defining incident that’s deeply personal to you. What did your experiences teach you about sexism? What does it mean to you as an individual?
6 Show, don’t tell
Close your eyes. Think of the scene you’re about to write down. What were you experiencing with your five senses? How did you feel?
Your challenge is to evoke those senses and feelings without flatly stating them. Don’t say “I felt cold.” Say “I exhaled and my breath turned to vapor that hung in the air. I shivered and pulled the blanket tight around my shoulders in a vain attempt to trap my body heat.” Your description should help the reader experience the cold with you. Stephen King describes it as making the reader “prickle with recognition.”
7 Craft a thought-provoking conclusion
Your essay should end with your own reflection and analysis. What did you learn? How have the events and thoughts you described changed your life or your understanding of life? It’s not enough to say “And that’s what happened.” You have to describe how whatever happened shaped you.
Just as a good lead hooks readers and draws them along for the ride, a good conclusion releases them from your essay’s thrall with a frisson of pleasure, agreement, passion or some other sense of completion. Circling back to your lead in your conclusion is one way to give readers that full-circle sense. Try to restate your thesis in a way that reflects the journey the essay has taken.
There is so much outside the false cloister of private experience; and when you write, you do the work of connecting that terrible privacy to everything beyond it.
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The conclusion is the final paragraph of your essay. A strong conclusion aims to: Tie together the essay’s main points Show why your argument matters Leave the reader with a strong impression Your conclusion should give a sense of closure and completion to your argument, but also show what new questions or possibilities it has opened up.
Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like 60 Minutes. Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument.
Depending on the length of your essay, knowing how to write a good conclusion is somewhat intuitive—you don’t want to simply summarize what you wrote. Rather, the conclusion should convey a sense of closure alongside the larger meaning and lingering possibilities of the topic. What your conclusion should include
A conclusion's job is to reiterate the arguments and thesis of the essay. In other words, it provides a sense of closure and suggests that you have accomplished the goal of the piece. Here are some key aspects to include in your conclusion to ensure its effectiveness: End the essay on a positive note
Essay conclusion usually has three main parts. They are: restated thesis statement, summary of the key points, and general conclusion. Make sure you include these parts in the final part to conclude an essay appropriately. Mind that just repeating the thesis and ideas will not work. Show your ability to analyze. 2. How to begin a conclusion?
Written by MasterClass. Last updated: Sep 9, 2021 • 3 min read. People write personal essays for a number of reasons. High school students write them for college admissions and writers use them to share personal stories with others. A personal narrative essay can enlighten and inspire an audience with information gained from real life ...
4 Create an outline. All it takes to understand the importance of an outline is listening to someone who struggled to tell a personal story. Often, the story will seem to have no real point. The switchbacks where the teller says “But wait, I have to tell you about this part, first!” are maddening and disruptive.
The primary purpose of this conclusion is to reflect on the experience described in the essay and tell the reader how it impacted the writer's life; the conclusion should come after the most...