How to Write an Effective Conclusion Paragraph for an Essay

The conclusion of an essay is the last chance a writer has to leave an impression on a reader. As such, it is important to communicate clearly and speak to all of the points you have made in your paper when writing a concluding paragraph. The purpose of the conclusion, however, is not only to address the main points of the essay but to show how the main points all fit together. This can be effectively achieved with a thoughtful combination of summary and commentary.

Start With a Transition

Transition words are useful for helping to guide your reader through the essay. You might you words or phrases like "however," "additionally" or "on the other hand" to help the reader know what to expect. You might chose to introduce the conclusion paragraph with a transition signal such as "in conclusion," "in summary," "in brief," "in short" or "indeed." This indicates to the reader that they have reached the concluding remarks, putting him or her in the appropriate mindset to contemplate the implications of your essay. However, some instructors find this approach too blunt, so be sure to pay attention to your teacher's specific suggestions.

Summarize the Thesis

Most essays are an argument of some sort. When writing your conclusion, think about what you want the readers to take away from the essay. Consider what your thesis and main points were, and make sure that these are stated again in the conclusion. Start by restating the thesis in different words (you don't want to simply echo what you said in the introduction). Then, state the proof that you've laid out for the reader. Be sure to include all of the major ideas presented in the body of the paper in your conclusion, and make it clear to the reader how all of these points come together to support your thesis.

Leave a Lasting Impression

Ideally, you want your reader to continue thinking about your essay after they've read it. That way you know that your essay has had an impact, and maybe even helped change the reader's mind.

To do this, make your final comment on the subject. This should be a thought-provoking statement, question or recommendation that is based on the information you have provided throughout the essay. While your final commentary should be directly related to the topic your paper addresses, you may connect it to broader ideas or aspects of everyday life that are beyond the scope of the essay itself. If the topic is constantly evolving or likely to change in the future, point that out to your reader.

What Not To Do

It's important to remember not to introduce any new information in the conclusion paragraph. Remember, the purpose of the concluding paragraph is to reinforce the introduction and body of the essay by summarizing the points you have already made. If you think of something that you would like to add while writing your conclusion, find a way to incorporate it into the body of the essay.