Writing the Perfect Essay Conclusion

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An effective conclusion is like ending a phone conversation – you want to keep it short and simple. The conclusion serves as the last impression you leave the reader with and should sum up your main idea briefly and succinctly. The best advice on writing effective conclusions came from my professor in grad school – “Make the conclusion sound as final as the slam of a door”.

Summarize what you have said in the body of the essay. The conclusion is the place to tie up all the loose ends and bring together the body paragraphs into a whole. The support points in the body of the essay should be briefly summarized in the conclusion.

Restate the main idea. After summarizing the support points, restate your main idea – your specific impression about the topic – in different words. An effective conclusion does not just repeat what was said in the introduction – it restates the thesis in a new way.

Give a final example or idea. A great way to conclude your essay is by giving the reader one more example of your main idea. If you discussed why cockfighting should be banned in the U.S., then the conclusion is the place to give one more example of why cockfighting should be banned. Remember, leave the reader with a final slam of the door.

Comment on or give a personal reaction to the topic. You can also conclude your essay by adding an additional comment about your topic or by telling the reader your own reaction to the topic. What strong reactions do you have to your topic? Include them briefly in the conclusion.

End the essay with a quote that sums up or comments on the topic. An effective way to sum up your essay is with an outstanding quote on the topic. Search the web for sites that have quotes and find one that packs a punch in regards to your topic. Ending the essay with a good quote leaves your reader feeling satisfied.

Finally, make a call for action. A final way to close your essay is with a ‘Call to Action’. This type of conclusion works particularly well with the persuasive essay. Challenge the reader to take a stand, make a difference, or get involved. You have written the essay, now send the reader out the door with enthusiasm.


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