Whether you're writing an analytical paper or a persuasive essay, a quality conclusion can make the difference between whether your reader accepts or rejects your position. A strong conclusion brings closure and unity to the essay in a way that satisfies the reader and addresses the significance of your ideas. Discussing why your position is important, extending a call to action for readers and providing a synthesized view of your main points can all help you write a good ending paragraph.
Synthesize Your Points
St. Cloud State University stresses the difference between conclusions that summarize and synthesize. A conclusion that summarizes merely restates the thesis and main points. By contrast, synthesizing is taking the thesis and main points and "put it all together," stating the main idea you want readers to learn. One tactic is to work some of your points into the opening sentence. For example, a conclusion to an essay about the Beatles' influence on music might begin, "From fresh instrumental arrangements to new production techniques to innovative lyrics, the Beatles carried music into a new era."
Echoing the Introduction
One way to write a good conclusion is to bring your readers full circle by creating parallels with your introduction. Using similar language to your introduction, repeating key words or phrases and returning to a scenario you described in the beginning are all ways to echo your opening. For example, if you are writing a persuasive essay about developing a personal fitness routine, you might open with a story about someone who suffered from obesity and decided to make a change. Your conclusion could return to this story to show how this person is doing with his new lifestyle.
Call to Action
If you're writing to persuade your audience, you might end your essay with a call to action. According to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this kind of conclusion "redirects your reader's thought process" from what you are saying to how it applies to his or her life. For example, if you are writing a persuasive essay about the importance of recycling, you might conclude by briefly discussing how easy it is to get involved. You might also share some tips on finding a local recycling center, setting up pickup service or reusing materials around the house.
Since the ending paragraph is your last chance to leave an impression on the reader, another tactic is to use the conclusion to explain the overall significance of your ideas. This can include showing how your main point applies to the reader and illustrating the wider implications of your ideas. For example, an essay about the theme of tolerance in "To Kill a Mockingbird" might end by discussing how society has come a long way since the book's publication during the Civil Rights movement, but that we still struggle with learning to consider the viewpoints of others.
Things to Avoid
While beginning with the phrase "In conclusion" might seem like a good idea, it's actually redundant, since the reader can tell when he or she has reached the final paragraph. The conclusion also should not be a dumping ground for new information; introducing too much content at the end can leave the reader confused and unsatisfied. Finally, conclusions should avoid cliches or heavy use of emotional appeal, such as how "To Kill a Mockingbird" is the most inspirational novel of all time or that by recycling, people can make the world a better place.
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