The conclusion is a very important part of your essay. Although it is sometimes treated as a roundup of all of the bits that didn’t fit into the paper earlier, it deserves better treatment than that! It's the last thing the reader will see, so it tends to stick in the reader's memory. It's also a great place to remind the reader exactly why your topic is important. A conclusion is more than just "the last paragraph"—it's a working part of the paper. This is the place to push your reader to think about the consequences of your topic for the wider world or for the reader's own life!
A good conclusion should do a few things:
- Restate your thesis
- Synthesize or summarize your major points
- Make the context of your argument clear
Restating Your Thesis
You've already spent time and energy crafting a solid thesis statement for your introduction, and if you've done your job right, your whole paper focuses on that thesis statement. That's why it's so important to address the thesis in your conclusion! Many writers choose to begin the conclusion by restating the thesis, but you can put your thesis into the conclusion anywhere—the first sentence of the paragraph, the last sentence, or in between. Here are a few tips for rephrasing your thesis:
- Remind the reader that you've proven this thesis over the course of your paper. For example, if you're arguing that your readers should get their pets from animal shelters rather than pet stores, you might say, "If you were considering that puppy in the pet-shop window, remember that your purchase will support 'puppy mills' instead of rescuing a needy dog, and consider selecting your new friend at your local animal shelter." This example gives the reader not only the thesis of the paper, but a reminder of the most powerful point in the argument!
- Revise the thesis statement so that it reflects the relationship you've developed with the reader during the paper. For example, if you've written a paper that targets parents of young children, you can find a way to phrase your thesis to capitalize on that—maybe by beginning your thesis statement with, "As a parent of a young child…"
- Don’t repeat your thesis word for word—make sure that your new statement is an independent, fresh sentence!
Summary or Synthesis
This section of the conclusion might come before the thesis statement or after it. Your conclusion should remind the reader of what your paper actually says! The best conclusion will include a synthesis, not just a summary—instead of a mere list of your major points, the best conclusion will draw those points together and relate them to one another so that your reader can apply the information given in the essay. Here are a couple of ways to do that:
- Give a list of the major arguments for your thesis (usually, these are the topic sentences of the parts of your essay).
- Explain how these parts are connected. For example, in the animal-shelter essay, you might point out that adopting a shelter dog helps more animals because your adoption fee supports the shelter, which makes your choice more socially responsible.
One of the most important functions of the conclusion is to provide context for your argument. Your reader may finish your essay without a problem and understand your argument without understanding why that argument is important. Your introduction might point out the reason your topic matters, but your conclusion should also tackle this questions. Here are some strategies for making your reader see why the topic is important:
- Tell the reader what you want him or her to do. Is your essay a call to action? If so, remind the reader of what he/she should do. If not, remember that asking the reader to think a certain way is an action in itself. (In the above examples, the essay asks the reader to adopt a shelter dog—a specific action.)
- Explain why this topic is timely or important. For example, the animal-shelter essay might end with a statistic about the number of pets in shelters waiting for adoption.
- Remind the readers of why the topic matters to them personally. For example, it doesn’t matter much if you believe in the mission of animal shelters, if you're not planning to get a dog; however, once you're looking for a dog, it is much more important. The conclusion of this essay might say, "Since you’re in the market for a dog, you have a major decision to make: where to get one." This will remind the reader that the argument is personally important!
Transcript of Writing a conclusion paragraph for a persuasive essay
Persuasive Essay The Conclusion Paragraph The First Part: The Second Part: The Third Part: Sample Essay There are three parts: Restate the thesis Restate your two reasons Call to Action Now Write It! Conclusion Paragraph 1. Restate the thesis 2. Restate your two reasons 3. Write a call to action 1. You are not going to restate the whole thesis. Just restate your position! 2. Remember: You have already proven that you are right. You can point that out in the restatement. Position: All middle school students are entitled to have recess. Restatement: Obviously, all middle school students deserve to have a recess every school day. 1. You need to write two separate sentences. 2. Don't forget to use transitions! Your two reasons: burn energy; time for snacks and bathroom breaks Restatement of reasons:
One reason why recess is important is because kids need to have time to burn their extra energy between classes. Another reason is that kids really could use that time to eat a quick snack and use the restroom. Some transitions that you can use:
One reason... Another reason...
To begin with... In addition...
First... Finally... 1. This is where you TELL your audience WHAT to DO about your argument! 2. Yes, you are going to sound like you are bossing them around. 4. After you tell them that you are going to explain how to take action, make a couple of suggestions as to what they can do to make a change, based on your argument. For example:
Go to your principal and demand recess. Explain the importance of recess to the school board, so that they make sure that all middle schools get recess. 3. Start by telling them that they need to do something to help, now that you have so brilliantly won your argument. It looks like this:
Now that you understand how important recess is to middle school students, it is time for you to help. By doing this, you are telling them that you are right, and that they need to help you to take action on your argument. 5. End with an enthusiastic sentence of encouragement. Like this:
Let's work together to get every middle school student the recess they deserve! 1. Restate thesis 2. Restate reasons in two sentences 3. Write a call to action:
Tell them to take action
Tell them what to do in two sentences
End the essay with an enthusiastic sentence