Anne is a teacher and freelancer interested in helping others improve their writing skills.
Writing the Conclusion of an Essay
The writing process can seem a bit overwhelming at times. There are so many things to include in essays and oftentimes we can become a bit overwhelmed with everything in front of us. However, making sure you have a good beginning and end to your essay is a crucial part in writing a strong paper.
If you have read my other articles on this topic, you will remember when I talked about the inverted pyramid format. The introduction to your essay follows this format, starting with general information and moving on to the specific (your thesis). In the conclusion, the format is actually the reverse of that. The three parts of your conclusion will move from specific to general. In your conclusion paragraph, you should:
- Restate your thesis
- Summarize your main points
Restate Your Thesis
This part can be a little tricky. When you restate the thesis of your essay, this isn’t a simple copy and paste of the same sentence from your introduction. You need to reword the thesis statement, but keep it clear that this is the same argument that you began with in the introduction of your essay. Here is an example:
Original Thesis Statement:
The three most important parts of a healthy lifestyle are diet, exercise, and self-care.
Diet, exercise, and self-care are the three most important parts of a healthy lifestyle.
Simply put, this example is the easiest way to restate your thesis. This is the method I often use with my students, which is what we call “flipping the statement around.” This works, however, in order to strengthen your writing, you should try also rewording the sentence so as not to be too repetitive in your essay. Here is another example of how you could restate this same thesis:
Diet, exercise, and self-care are the most crucial aspects of healthy living.
As seen above, this example is much strong. It still contains keywords from the original thesis statement, but adds synonyms for some of the words that make the sentences overall stronger. For instance, “most crucial” replaces “most important”. Making sure you vary your word choice is one of the best ways to create stronger sentences and an overall more professional essay.
Summarize Your Main Points
In the conclusion of your essay, you also need to summarize the main points of your essay. These are essentially the topic sentences of each of your body paragraphs. Here is an example:
Topic Sentence 1: Dieting is one of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Topic Sentence 2: Exercise benefits a healthy lifestyle by keeping you in shape.
Topic Sentence 3: Self-care such as personal hygiene will keep you healthy longer.
All three of these are the topic sentences to the essay. However, when you summarize the main points in your conclusion, you also want to include some of the examples you gave within your paragraphs in a short, concise way. Here is the conclusion paragraph with the restated thesis and the summary of the main points:
Diet, exercise, and self-care are the most crucial aspects of healthy living. Dieting promotes healthy organ functioning. Exercising keeps you in shape and boosts your metabolism. Self-care will keep you from getting sick too often.
Here, you can see that each sentence reviewing them main points, but also included an example that was given in the body paragraphs of the essay. It is important to include this information, but also keep in mind to not be repetitive with your word choice. Use a thesaurus often to help you keep your word choice clear, concise, and varied within the conclusion of your essay.
Lastly, your conclusion should wrap-up all of your ideas in a meaningful way. This can be one of the most difficult things to do in an essay, but it is also one of the most important. I tell my students that this is the “so what?” part of the essay. This is where you are telling your reader why this topic matters. Consider answering the following questions before writing the wrap-up of your essay:
“Why should I care?”
“How does this impact the world around us?”
If you can answer these three questions, you can write an engaging and interesting wrap-up for your essay. Here is the full conclusion of the sample:
Diet, exercise, and self-care are the most crucial aspects of healthy living. Dieting promotes healthy organ functioning. Exercising keeps you in shape and boosts your metabolism. Self-care will keep you from getting sick too often. In the society we live in today, it is often hard to keep in mind a healthy lifestyle. However, if we want to live longer and improve our overall well being as a society, we should follow the steps to healthy living.
While this wrap-up is quite simple, it does the job to inform readers as to why this topic is so important. It even brings in the world view for readers to consider how this impacts society. This is the kind of thing you want to make sure to add into the conclusion of your essay.
A Final Thought...
The conclusion of an essay is often the hardest thing to write, next to the introduction. When we write essays, we typically work in reverse order; we know the main points and research we want to talk about, but we have a hard time building up to it and wrapping up the information. Following these three steps will help you ensure that you are including all the necessary information, while also engaging your reader in the topic. The end of an essay should make the reader think, process, and even question what you are writing about, and that is what a good conclusion aims to do. If you follow these three steps, you will be sure to leave your readers with something memorable from your essay.
Anne Marie Carr (author) from Richmond, VA on January 04, 2020:
Thanks for reading!
Kelly Ann Christensen from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas on December 30, 2019:
Thanks for this quick, concise article about writing a conclusion to an essay, Anne Marie.
"The introduction to your essay follows this format, starting with general information and moving on to the specific (your thesis). In the conclusion, the format is actually the reverse of that. The three parts of your conclusion will move from specific to general."