A conclusion of an essay is probably the most underestimated part of it. Many students don’t even understand why it’s in the plan and why their instructors insist that they should write it. If you ask them what is a conclusion in an essay, they will most likely answer simply: “It’s the last paragraph”. Yet without understanding the function of a thing, you hardly know anything about it. It’s like saying that nose is the thing in the middle of the face, instead of explaining that we need it for breathing and smelling things.
Meanwhile, the conclusion is the most important part of your essay – it can make or break it. Let’s look in detail on how to make a conclusion in an essay work for you instead of being a burdensome chore.
How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph for an Essay
I know, the essay was long, you’ve already said what you had to say, now you just want to drop the mic and get it over with. Yet don’t rush through the conclusion! It deserves all the careful attention the introduction enjoys. A strong conclusion should:
- summarize all the main points of the essay and tie them in with the thesis statement
- highlight the most important argument of your essay
- show the broader implications your essay has
- leave the final lasting impression on your audience
Quite a task, huh? Let’s do a quick rhetorical analysis of one conclusion essay example:
Maria Sibylla Merian was a feminist two hundred years before the word was even invented. Her entire life she followed her passion for nature, traveled the world in pursuit of knowledge and research, left the unhappy marriage and reclaimed her maiden name, supported her family and secured their social standing by working – everything in the 17th century, when all of the above was the prerogative of men. Even her interest in entomology challenged public sensitivities since the world viewed her fascination with “repulsive creatures” scandalous and unfitting for a woman. She was a successful entrepreneur, ingenious inventor, talented artist, and dedicated scientist, whose works forwarded the knowledge in the field and remained unparalleled for decades. All this inspires, but above all, makes one wonder, who of the people living today, breaking custom and yielding social disapproval, will be praised three hundred years from now?
This conclusion does a good job, because:
- it restates the thesis about Maria Sibylla Merian (she was a feminist)
- provides an outline of the main essay points (her decisions in life)
- shows how Maria Sibylla Merian’s decisions lead to her success
- ties her life with contemporary life (relevance)
- shows how you can end a conclusion with a thought-provoking observation to reinforce the impression
- draws a bottom-line and provides the feeling of closure without flat-out stating it.
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How to Start a Conclusion in an Essay
When you first heard about writing a conclusion for an essay, they have probably taught you about the conclusion words. These words and phrases signal to your audience that the essay has entered its final stage:
- In conclusion
- To sum up
- In summary
- This essay has argued
Now forget them. Why? Because if you are doing your conclusion right, your audience will know it without any signals. Such phrases will only weaken and slow down your writing. They might be appropriate in a school-level English essay, where one of the tasks is to broaden your vocabulary and teach you how to use transition words, but in college, you should ditch them without regret.
If such phrases do anything, they give away your boredom with the task and lack of any idea where this essay is going.
How to Write a Good Conclusion for an Essay Depending on Its Type
Despite the general principals described above, various types of academic papers have unique features you should take into account while writing a conclusion. Let’s look at them in detail.
Argumentative Essay Conclusion
When it comes to argumentative essays, it is vital to do the conclusion paragraph right. This short paragraph decides whether you lost or won the entire argument. How to write a conclusion that will cement your position?
It is important to stress the point you are defending, revisit the most illustrative examples of your evidence, and reference the opposing argument together with its rebuttal. This shows the finality of the argument and positions you as the winning side.
Expository Essay Conclusion
An expository essay should investigate its subject in detail, so it might seem fitting to use every section of it for providing as much information as you can. However, you should never give any new information in a conclusion. Instead, use the last paragraph of your expository essay to integrate the information you have already given in a bigger picture, universalize to show how this knowledge might be relevant in other situations, or ask a question to start a discussion or encourage your readers to research the issue further.
Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion
In the conclusion for the compare and contrast essay, you should provide a quick list of the main points and sum it up with your opinion. What follows from your comparison? How your readers can use this information? For example, “For the reasons stated above, people who want to avoid stress should give preference to smaller towns rather than big cities”.
Persuasive Essay Conclusion
Conclusion is your last chance to make a case for your point and sway the opinion of your audience. Do not water down the impression by apologizing for your position (“This is only my personal opinion”, “Of course, there are many other points of view on this issue”). You don’t have to be objective in a persuasive essay.
Moreover, you should have already addressed the concerns of your audience and provided evidence in the body paragraphs. Use your conclusion for maximum impact on your audience: provide a moving or heart-warming personal anecdote, ask a rhetorical question, influence the emotions of your readers.
Informative Essay Conclusion
Since the aim of the informative essay is to educate your audience on a subject, in the conclusion you should repeat the definition of the subject so that your audience will remember it, recap all of the main points, and sum them up in a concise takeaway.
The conclusion for an informative essay may also highlight why this information was important to learn. Think of it as of answering the questions in your reader’s mind: why did I read all this and what must I remember from it?
Analytical Essay Conclusion
An analytical essay examines constituent elements of its subject, so in your conclusion, you should integrate the main points of all paragraphs to leave the reader with a concise summation of your essay and explain what work has been done and what it proves. You can also put your findings in a broader context to show the implications of your essay for the field.
Of course, the scope of an essay format has its limitations, so you may also outline what research is still left to be done.
As you can see, writing a conclusion requires the writer to know the formats of academic papers and understand the aims of the essay. If you need samples of competently written essays as guidance, contact us now and we will provide an essay custom-written according to your requirements.