Writing your Conclusion

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So, you’ve written the bulk of your essay.  You are happy with your thesis statement and the body of the paper looks good.  But when you try to write your conclusion, you find that you’re stuck.  Most people dread writing conclusions; and because it is the last part of the essay, it often gets brushed aside.  But there are a few tricks to learning how to write a compelling conclusion without merely restating the introduction.

A concluding paragraph reaffirms the thesis.  A good way to do this is by echoing the thesis without restating it word for word. In this way it brings the essay full circle, and is also a useful tool in referring back to the essay as a whole.  If, when you restate your thesis, you find that the statement no longer applies or has changed in any way, then you can go back into the essay to find where you may have changed course.  You should not, however, simply restate the thesis.  At the end of the essay you should be able to look at your thesis in a new light.  Your thesis has evolved into a proved theory.  Use that to add to the conclusion.  Revisit the thesis in a way that reflects your understanding of the argument.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when writing a conclusion is introducing new information.  The conclusion should summarize the essay—so if new information is in the conclusion, it will seem strange that this information was not in the body of the essay as well.  This is another opportunity to see what you may have missed in the essay body.  Is this information crucial? Or is it merely something you feel you need to add to the conclusion as a sort of filler?  Your conclusion should wrap up the essay, without adding previously unexplored details.

In the conclusion, do not simply reword the introduction. The conclusion is the last thing your teacher will read, and you want to leave with a good, lasting impression.  Review your argument, taking into account all of the factors you have explored in your essay. In the conclusion, you want to map how your argument developed, and how it brought you to the end.  It really is that simple.  Stick with concrete details.  Do not end the essay with a vague statement about world peace or how (your topic) is ‘good’ for everyone.  Be specific.  Use evidence from the essay.  You can even use a quote.  Even if you feel like you are being repetitive, it is much better to end with strong detail than with a throw away statement.  Above all, relax.  The conclusion should reaffirm your argument and validate your work.  If you have taken the time to research the topic and you feel good about your essay, then it will do just that.

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One Response to “Writing your Conclusion”

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