How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph
Writing a good conclusion requires you to be able to think logically and see all the connections between thoughts and idea. Since conclusions are an essential element of every paper, learning to write them properly will be very useful.
5 Don’ts that You Should Avoid
When it comes to the ending part of your paper, there are a few things you should totally avoid. Here they are:
- Don’t give new information. Your conclusion is not intended to introduce any new ideas, new aspects of your main idea, or additional details. Instead, its purpose is to draw a closing line and review everything that has been written earlier. If something new has suddenly crossed your mind when you were writing the concluding part, it makes sense to revise the main paragraphs and maybe write another one where you will include that new information. Thus, you will be able to refer to it.
- Don’t rewrite an introduction. Your conclusion is not intended to copy the introductory part or be its bare restatement. Although you really need to link the ending of your essay with its beginning, it doesn’t mean you should simply rewrite. Think of it as of a reminder – you need to remind the reader where it all came from and present your main idea in the light of all that information from the essay’s body. Therefore, place your intro as well as your last paragraph of the body in front of your eyes and ask yourself, “so what?”
- Don’t rewrite a body. Now, you shouldn’t write in different words or copy the body. It’s a common mistake. After presenting all the information in the main paragraphs, students repeat them in brief in the conclusion, believing that’s the best way to end their paper. Of course, you can mention or list the key points you’ve been making throughout your essay, but you should do it in the context of answering the same question “so what?”.
- Don’t use clichés. Clichés should be avoided by all means in any part of the paper. Your conclusion must be a powerful paragraph, and using way too common words and phrases doesn’t contribute to it. Don’t use such transition phrases as “to conclude”, “to summarize”, “in conclusion”, “in closing”. Although they clearly signify where the conclusion begins, they are overused and other students in your class are likely to use them too. You don’t want your essay to be similar to someone else’s, do you? Find other, more original transition phrases.
- Don’t use quotes. Although citing your sources or inserting famous quotations to back up your reasoning in the body of your text is recommended, doing the same in the conclusion is not allowed if you want your paper to be graded highly. Even if the quote you want to use doesn’t introduce new information, you’d better refrain from using it.
5 Dos to Follow
Now check out a list of recommended actions:
- Do use the same pattern you’ve used in the introduction. If you applied a particular attention grabber when writing an intro part for your paper, consider if it’s appropriate to apply it to end your thought, thus wrapping it up into a finished piece. For example, having asked a thought-provoking or rhetorical question at the beginning, you may perfectly end the essay with repeating this question and giving a clear answer. If you have used a particular wordplay, use it again (in a different context, of course).
- Do consider applying the “from narrow to broad” pattern. Opposed to an introduction, where you start with a general statement and then narrow it down, a conclusion can represent a reverse pattern. After you introduce a local outcome to the reader, you can take your conclusion to the next level by linking it to a broader, more global problem.
- Do stay precise and brief. It’s natural to write a conclusion consisting of five or ten sentences. Extending the upper limits, you risk confusing or making the reader bored with unnecessary details and statements. Being too short, you may fail to help the reader understand the main thought. Still, the length of the conclusion can vary depending on the length of the whole paper.
- Do use authoritative language. Drawing a closing line, you need to watch carefully which words you are using and how you are expressing your thoughts. A conclusion with such phrases as “I believe” or “to my mind” won’t sound reasonable enough. Remember that in most types of an essay, your responsibility is to present some idea and make the reader believe you. You will hardly succeed in doing this if your arguments are “because I think so”.
- Do make a strong last statement. The last sentence of the conclusion is the most important one as it leaves the reader either questioning their ideas concerning the subject or confused about what they have just read. One of the effective ways to end your essay is using an imperative – that is, a call to action. This is not equally effective for all essay types, though. Also, note that emotional context works well. However, you need to be very careful here in order not to get too emotional.
Each academic paper has a particular structure you should follow. A conclusion is one of the most important structural elements, and the aforementioned tips will help you learn how to write them well. You can also use examples of conclusions written by experienced writers in order to get a better idea of what it should look like (for more information, go here.)