How to Write a Conclusion Paragraph of an Essay

Out of all the elements of an essay, students express more confusion about the concluding paragraph of an essay than all the other.

What a Strong Concluding Paragraph Does

Strong concluding paragraphs differ depending upon the type of essay being written.

Argumentative Essay Closings:

With argumentative, take a stand, persuasive essays, and the call to action essay, the final paragraph should be a place to reassert your thesis in a strong way—to, if not move your reader to take action, at least to suggest that we should all become more aware of the problem.

Other Essay Conclusions

I once had a wonderful professor who was lecturing a group of young English graduate student teachers on the art of teaching concluding paragraphs. He said to think of the essay as a river, which starts out flowing swift and narrow, eventually opening out wide into the ocean. In other words, the essay should move along very narrow lines and then speak to your reader about the larger consequences or issues at stake in the essay at the end.

Bring the Essay into the Present Moment

One way to help you start writing better conclusions is to bring your topic into the very current moment—like this month, this week, or yesterday. Somewhere in the world, something happened related to your topic very recently, and you can talk about that.

For example, let’s say you are writing an essay where you are trying to get your reader to get to know how urgent the problem of global warming actually is. At the end of such an essay, you might move to a statement about an animal becoming endangered by the melting of the polar icecaps. For example: “Yesterday, researchers asserted that polar bears are now becoming extinct. They cannot find food because there is not enough ice for them to walk from place to place. The loss of such beautiful wildlife would be a tragic loss for . . “ and so forth.

If your topic is related to guns, violence, violence in the media, or violence in video games, you’ll (sadly) find many incidents around the world that you can relate to our current fascination with violence.

Create a Moving Tone

Above all things, as one great professor taught me, the closing should echo not just in the mind but in the ear of the reader. Create something appealing to the ear tonally and that moves them to contemplate your topic.