Drafting Conclusions

In your conclusion, you will want to review your thesis without restating it word for word. In some cases it may also help to briefly summarize the support Introduction to Topic Sentence and Supporting Details for your thesis that you developed in your essay. In addition, closing your essay with a memorable ending device, such as a final question or quote, will help drive your main idea home. Whatever ending device you use, be sure it relates to your thesis and that it signifies the importance of your main point to your readers.

Here are some examples of different types of conclusion paragraphs:

Revisit the device used in your introduction

If you used a surprising fact or an interesting example for your opening device, your conclusion can allude to the same idea.

As for us, here on Earth in the age of the quarterly statement, it is probably a good thing occasionally to contemplate a really long-term project. Humanity’s existence on this Earth is a long-term project, after all, and it’s important to remember what that means. People will be living here 500 years from now, and they will all be our relatives. These distant children of ours deserve to be given a livable planet to care for in their turn. For their sake we need to work out a sustainable way of life on Earth. Going to Mars will be part of that larger environmental project, and terraforming it will be an education that we will apply at home as we learn it—pausing, from time to time, to look up at our wilderness garden in the sky.

- Kim Stanley Robinson, “A Colony in the Sky”

Complete a story

If you have written a narrative essay, you will usually want to provide a closing for your story to give readers a sense of completion. It should refer to any main points you made in the introduction.

But then, in the middle of the chaotic kitchen, busy with women putting the finishing touches on the Iranian feast, I hold up the silver tray to look at my own reflection. “I don’t have to decide,” I say to myself. I place the tray down on the counter top and walk away quietly with a smile on my face.

- Mona M. Maisami, “Born in Amrika”

Provide a quotation

A quotation related to your main point can strengthen your main idea and give your readers something to remember. As with your introduction, be sure that any quotation you use in your conclusion is clearly connected to your main idea.

There is still very limited awareness of the nature of the threat. This is an era of specialists, each of whom sees his own problem and is unaware of or intolerant of the larger frame into which it fits. It is also an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged. When the public protests, confronted with some obvious evidence of damaging results of pesticide applications, it is fed little tranquilizing pills of half truth. We urgently need an end to these false assurances, to the sugar coating of unpalatable facts. It is the public that is being asked to assume the risks that the insect controllers calculate. The public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road, and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts. In the words of Jean Rostand, “The obligation to endure gives us the right to know.”

- Rachel Carson, “The Obligation to Endure“

Understanding the candidates’ positions on important issues that affect the community is the most important responsibility voters have. Schools can be dramatically affected by a candidate’s policies. Taxes could be increased dramatically with the support of a politician. Public services like garbage pick-up, police, and ambulances can all be impacted through local government officials. As Tony Snow said, “Voting is a right best exercised by people who learn about the issues.”

Revisit a question

If you asked a question in your introduction, it can help to remind readers of it in your conclusion. It is also important to provide either a direct answer or some other type of resolution.

For most of people who connect and share on Facebook every day and wonder what is so bad about social media, the answer may be nothing. But for others, those who experience identity theft or discrimination or cyberbullying or invasion of privacy, there is something very wrong with social media. Let these unfortunate examples serve as a warning to all of us, and let us all take precautions to minimize these problems for ourselves and those we care about.

Offer a strong opinion

A strong opinion or forceful directive can make an effective ending for a persuasive essay.

Thus, parents should look at teen employment not as automatically educational. It is an activity—like sports—that can be turned into an educational opportunity. But it can also easily be abused. Youngsters must learn to balance the quest for income with the needs to keep growing and pursue other endeavors that do not pay off instantly—above all education.

Go back to school.

- Amitai Etzioni, “Working at McDonald’s”