How to Write a Good Conclusion for an Essay
Maybe you would never compare a conclusion of an essay to such an emotional piece as Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”, but we would. Talking seriously, our point is that the conclusion must be really emotional, and given its importance for the entire essay, it must not only summarize the previous parts but also push readers to feel something. It may be contemplation, surprise, excitement, or a complicated mix of different feelings, but it must be memorable.
The conclusion is one of the hardest sections of any essay. First of all, it must round up your essay. At the same time, it must create a strong positive impression of your work, and remind your key points, without repeating your own words. Such a task is not easy at all, so it’s no surprise if you cannot cope with it well. But don’t be afraid – just let us help you with our tips.
What is a Conclusion?
The answer to such a question may seem to be pretty simple – it’s a paragraph (or a couple paragraphs) at the end of your essay that recaps your main arguments.
If you were asked to find a few synonyms for this term, you likely would mention such words as thesis “restatement”, “summary”, or “recap”. Of course, all these words describe the conclusion, but they cannot describe its function. If you are being guided by such synonyms, you likely will miss some good opportunities to create a really great conclusion. Let’s think what advantages the conclusion can give you, and how to use its rhetorical potential for your essay.
How to Avoid Bad Conclusions
Before we start talking about the good conclusion, let’s think about what the good conclusion isn’t.
- It’s not a repeat of the introduction.
Almost everyone who works in a university has seen such conclusions that look just like a copied introduction. Let’s be honest, it’s obviously a pointless approach. If your conclusion simply repeats the introduction, almost word-for-word, your essay doesn’t need it. It just makes your essay look longer, but it creates a really bad impression. If you wanted to remind your introduction, you could just write “see the introduction” instead.
Of course, such an example is somewhat extreme, so you may think that you would never do such a mistake. However, statistically, many students try to rephrase the introduction. You should understand that paraphrasing your own text doesn’t differ from simple copy-pasting. You don’t change the content, and your conclusion doesn’t realize its function.
- It’s not a summary of the body part.
Another common mistake is turning the conclusion into a simple recap. A concise summary of your key points may be useful as a part of the conclusion, especially when writing a long and complex essay. At the same time, using such an approach, you only waste words on something that you’ve already said before. Such a conclusion doesn’t fulfill any persuasive or rhetorical function.
- It’s not a place where you can add some new information.
So, we agreed that the conclusion isn’t just a recap or a summary of the previous parts of the essay. At the same time, it’s not a place where you can provide readers with more information. It’s a final part of the essay, and here you have to reflect the entire work and your arguments.
Thus, your task becomes more and more complicated. You shouldn’t just summarize your previous text; you shouldn’t provide new information, so what exactly you should do?
Turn Your Conclusion into a Sales Pitch
You may have noticed that we have mentioned the word “rhetoric” a couple times, and we did it intentionally. We cannot separate essay conclusions from rhetoric because this part of the essay is more rhetorical than any other.
The rhetorical function of the conclusion is an ability to persuade your readers. You have to establish an emotional connection with your readers, and to do it well, you have to use a certain way of presentation and a certain language type.
If you feel bad about rhetoric, calm down. This word is often misused or used in such phrases as “empty rhetoric”, which creates a bad reputation for this word. In fact, this phrase implies something has been written with a lack of sense or integrity, and that’s definitely not what you need for your essay. At the same time, rhetoric is one of the world’s oldest disciplines and one of the most important disciplines in many modern societies.
Rhetoric is able to create a significant difference in how your readers perceive your essay. Imagine two writers, one of which is skilled in rhetoric, and the other one is not. Both of them can provide the same arguments and evidence, but what essay readers will most likely buy? If you use too many rhetorical phrases, a reader may think that you care only about style, but not content. At the same time, if you create a proper structure and present your claims in a right way, you will be able to convince even skeptical readers.
Well, all this information may look too abstract. How should you implement this knowledge in practice? Let’s explain it as a simple analogy. Imagine yourself delivering a sales pitch, say, for a property company. This company sells expensive properties in the Caribbean. Your audience is rich people who often take luxury holidays, but they are not sure that they are ready to buy another home in the Caribbean. Thus, they haven’t decided yet.
To convince these people that they have to buy one of the houses, you have to make a sales pitch and work on every detail. You may spend a couple hours describing the beauty of the landscapes, financial features of such a deal, and funding possibilities. This pitch will include many different arguments, some of which will be equally impressive. You will tell your potential clients about the spacious bedroom and the distance to the beach.
After your speech is over, customers start asking other questions. They want to know more. They will ask you about taxes in this area, and what returns they can expect from such an investment. You will have to tell them about waste and sanitation facilities, and what to do if they don’t use their property for some time.
If your buyer is ready to sign papers, you will have to give all necessary answers and provide convincing arguments in favor of this deal. At the same time, if you just recap your previous arguments, it won’t be enough to create a good presentation. You don’t need your audience to leave you thinking about taxes or septic tanks. And you don’t have to give them more details in your last few sentences. Remind them about such details and owning this property will be only stronger associated with various troubles, responsibilities, and stresses.
The best impression of your presentation would be thoughts about their little personal paradise in the ocean. You want them to leave you thinking about sunbeams sparkling on drops of the purest warm water. Unlike some specific features, this picture motivates them to buy this property, and it gives them your promise of the better and brighter life.
…And What About Essays?
Ok, we know that this kind of business has little to do with essay writing. We used this analogy to explain some basic rhetoric principles. Your essay is a pitch, and you can use the same principles when writing your conclusion.
The conclusion is a great opportunity to leave your readers with a good impression of your entire essay and arguments. They must be at least convinced that you’ve achieved your and that your points are right. It’s good if your readers feel satisfied because they’ve got new interesting information.
Finally, the best impression of your essay would be excitement. Your readers will be excited if you provide a completely new perspective, and push them to think about your topic in a new and unique way. Your essay must touch them deeply and give them a new meaning of the subject.
How to Make a Five Paragraph Essay Exciting?
Of course, various types of paper give you different opportunities for expression. At the same time, even if you’re an undergraduate student, you can provide a new point of view on any topic. You can even develop your ideas and apply them further, in your new essays and other papers. You cannot even imagine how exciting it may be for instructors! And your instructors will surely appreciate an outstanding essay that differs from hundreds of typical papers. You have to sell even the smallest original idea in your essay. You have to tell something innovative and new, and don’t forget that such an essay must be well-written and vivid.
We have a tip for those who are writing a standard five-paragraph essay with three arguments. Such an essay type especially requires you not to repeat the introduction as the conclusion. The key to impressing your readers is to show them that your ideas developed from the beginning to the end of the essay. They have to learn something with you. And you can easily apply such an idea while writing a five-paragraph essay.
- If the conclusion just restates the thesis and arguments, simply listing them once again, the essay looks disjointed, which is a common problem for five-paragraph essays.
- Another type of conclusions provides readers with a minimum of what conclusions must include. Such conclusions concisely illustrate how ideas of the essay developed.
- The best conclusions are based on the “sales pitch” principle. They develop a single theme by collecting arguments from various paragraphs of the body part. Such a method gives you an opportunity to create the greatest impression by recalling the brightest moments and interpreting them in the context of your general idea.
You should balance between the recap and sales pitch. Though you must not provide any new information in this section, you can develop a broader view and tell about advantages of your point. Of course, the conclusion cannot turn a bad essay into a good one, but this method allows you to present even elementary arguments in an impressive form.
Do’s and Don’ts
Now let’s sum up all our points and think what we’ve just learned:
- Do put it all together.
Not only you have to convince your readers to accept your point, but you also have to present them a coherent and unified idea. Starting with a new thing in the introduction, develop your idea and make it broader. Show how the entire text is related to it and supports it. This idea will unify all your thoughts and turn your essay into a logical and easy to understand unit.
- Do sell it.
While the body and the introduction of the essay build a solid ground for your point, the conclusion must convince your readers that the very process of reading was fun, interesting, and exciting. Don’t be afraid to use rhetoric in this section – make a great sales pitch for your essay.
- Do be speculative.
This part of the essay is that unique place where you can break some rules. While the entire essay should be filled up with arguments, evidence, and strong logic, here you can make assertions. Here you can be speculative, giving a broader understanding of the implications of your idea. Of course, you have to be smart and avoid too loud statements, claiming that you have just changed the world. This is a bad type of rhetoric, and you shouldn’t use it. Just try to make your idea exciting and show that there is a need for your approach.
- Don’t write new arguments.
Yes, the conclusion must consider your arguments in a fresh and unique way, giving your readers an understanding of how valuable is your point. But you only need to unify the information stated before, not complicating your paper by adding new details.
- Don’t rehash your thesis.
The worst way to write a conclusion is to simply repeat everything that you’ve said in the introduction. It will kill the dynamic of your text, leaving your readers puzzling why you wrote the whole essay if your initial point and conclusions are exactly the same. Don’t write such conclusions, especially while writing short essays.