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How to conclude an essay

Unfortunately, many grade school instructors gloss over both the importance of the essay conclusion as well as some good strategies for writing a good conclusion. Typically, little instruction is offered aside from suggesting a rather weak rewrite of the introduction. However, the conclusion of your essay can be much more than that.

Purpose of an Essay Conclusion

The introduction of your essay builds a rapport with the reader and establishes your topic and thesis. The body of your essay builds on your argument, shows various sources, and strengthens your thesis. The conclusion of your essay can be considered a combination of these two purposes:

Writing an Essay Conclusion

The first portion of the essay you should write, after making a comprehensive outline, is the body of the essay. After writing the rough draft of the body, write your introduction rough draft. Once you’ve established the content and arguments you wish to make in the body, and decided on the points most relevant to highlight in the introduction, it’s time to write the conclusion of your essay. The conclusion should include:

Don’t Rewrite the Introduction

The introduction of your paper proposes questions, the body answers them, and the conclusion should be an affirmation of your answers—not just a restatement of questions. The conclusion should have a stronger, surer voice than the introduction. In the introduction, you’re assuming your audience is unfamiliar with the topic; by the time you write the conclusion, you should feel confident in their knowledge about it. Why? Because you’ve just given them that knowledge. Your introduction is about building a relationship with the reader, but the conclusion assumes that relationship is established. You’re not simply educating or explaining, in the conclusion; you’re making strong statements to a fellow thinker who knows as much, now, about the topic as you do.

Don’t Be Afraid to Include New Material

The conclusion shouldn’t contain new evidence or arguments to back up your thesis, as these should be present in the body of the paper. However, a bit of new material is often warranted to keep the conclusion fresh. Interesting or intriguing material that adds to your thesis (but which isn’t strictly necessary to support it) can be a great addition.

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