A concluding paragraph ends the discussion smoothly by following logically from the essay’s introductory paragraph and the essay’s body paragraphs.  Always integrate a concluding device (strategy) into the final paragraph so that the discussion does not end abruptly.  A conclusion that is hurriedly tacked on is a missed opportunity to provide a sense of completion and a finishing touch that adds to the whole essay.

The same writers who wait to write their introductory paragraph until they’ve drafted their body paragraphs often also wait to write their concluding paragraph until they’ve drafted their introduction.  They do this to coordinate the beginning and end so that they can make sure they don’t repeat the same strategy in both places.

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Often a conclusion will answer a “So what?” question as it develops toward the final thought.  And the concluding strategy will be at the end of the paragraph, unlike the introductory strategy that falls at the beginning.  The construction of a conclusion is a mirror opposite of an introduction.  If the introductory strategy is a hook, think of the concluding strategy as the final impact.  An equation of a concluding paragraph might be

    • Transition + Final Impact = Conclusion

And on some occasions, it might just be

    • Final Impact = Conclusion

Below is a list of strategies for concluding your essay as well as strategies to avoid.

Strategies to Try

    • A strategy adapted from those used for introductory paragraphs–but be careful to choose a different strategy for your introduction and conclusion:
      • Relating a brief concluding interesting story or anecdote
      • Giving one or more pertinent–perhaps surprising–concluding statistics
      • Asking one or more provocative questions for further thought
      • Using an appropriate quotation that expresses the essence of your argument
      • Redefining a key term for emphasis
      • Using a memorable image
    • An analogy that summarizes the thesis statement
    • A summary of the main points–use this only ifthe piece of writing is longer than four pages.  Do not use in this class.
    • A statement that urges awareness by the readers
    • A statement that speculates about the future
    • A final epiphany and call to readers for action
    • The implications of your argument
    • An echo of the introduction (This FI strategy will be introduce half-way through the course–Do not use until then.)

Strategies to Avoid

    • Introducing new ideas or facts that belong in the body of the essay
    • Rewording your introduction
    • Announcing what you’ve discussed, as in “In this paper, I have explained why oil prices have dropped.”
    • Making absolute claims, as in “I have proved that oil prices don’t always affect gasoline prices.”
    • Apologizing, as in “Even though I’m not an expert, I feel my position is correct.”


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