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Can you give some instruction on how to form a conclusion for an essay? What purpose should the conclusion serve, and how can I write one?

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carol-davis eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The conclusion should be the best paragraph of the essay.  Research shows that the reader will best remember what he reads last; thus, this final paragraph has to be powerful.  It is important to remember that this cannot be a replication of what was said in the introduction. The conclusion must be creative.

There are three parts to the conclusion.

First,  it must encapsulate the entirety of the essay.   You must restate the thesis but it must be fresh.  Do not use the same words that were used in writing the thesis in the introduction. The thesis must have evolved into an absolutely clear posture of the position of the essay. 

Secondly, the next sentences must ensure that this return to the thesis moves beyond simply reproducing the introduction. The aim is to convince the reader that this essay has covered all the most important arguments about the issue and that the outlook taken in the paper is the best position on the issue. The conclusion provides a bridge to help the readers make the transition by personalizing the argument.  Write a sentence or two that shows how this argument applies to the individual reader. Personalize the argument.

The final part of the conclusion must be memorable.  Take this opportunity to provide the most thoughtful ending to a paper that deserves a “knock your socks off” ending.  Regardless of the topic of the paper, the last sentences must offer a provocative assertion to tie everything all together. 

Sometimes, writers will remind the readers of an anecdote from the introduction, but with the intention of completing the story or adding to the point that was made by the story.  This would bring the paper “full circle.”

You can also use a startling question that leaves the reader thinking. Whatever the writer chooses, it must grab the reader’s attention. One excellent way to end is a quotation or story from a famous person.

If the topic were perseverance, the approach to the topic would be the consequences of giving up and not completing a task, and always striving to do the best he can do. Remember the first thing to do is restate the thesis. Then the rest of the conclusion might follow this pattern:

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: it is this that distinguishes the strong soul from the weak. Calvin Coolidge, an American President used these ideas as his life’s creed:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

To reiterate, follow this procedure in writing the conclusion of the essay:

  1. Restate the thesis using completely different words.  Make it fresh.
  2. Write two or three sentences that make the essay personal.  Let the reader know that this is important to them. Transition between the thesis statement and the final impressive finale.
  3. Find a quotation, anecdote, reference to the introduction, startling statistic to finish the essay.  Whatever fits the argument must appeal to the emotions (pathos)! The ending of the paper has to make the reader have some kind of palpable response. Show some passion. 

Whether you choose to end with emphasis, wit, or wonder, your final sentence should be in some way memorable without departing significantly from the overall tone.

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kevin0001 | Student

To form a conclusion for an essay, simply wrap up the entire essay into a few sentences. A conclusion is used to finish up your point or subject in your essay. A conclusion serves as the last paragraph that will end your essay. To write one, first write down the last things you would like to say in your essay. Then restate your thesis or the entire point of the essay in a different way.