How To Start Of A Conclusion In An Essay

2.3: Conclusions

This resource was written by Jaclyn M. Wells.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on March 22, 2013 .

Summary:

This resource covers writing a detailed conclusion for your GED essay.

Writing a Developed and Detailed Conclusion

It is important to have a strong conclusion, since this is the last chance you have to make an impression on your reader. The goal of your conclusion isn’t to introduce any new ideas, but to sum up everything you’ve written. Specifically, your conclusion should accomplish three major goals:

  • Restate the main idea of your essay, or your thesis statement
  • Summarize the three subpoints of your essay
  • Leave the reader with an interesting final impression

The paragraph below is an example conclusion. As you read, think about what each sentence accomplishes within the paragraph. What sentence(s) restates the essay’s thesis statement? What sentence(s) summarizes the essay’s three subpoints? What sentence(s) leaves the reader with an interesting final impression?

Getting a better job is a goal that I would really like to accomplish in the next few years. Finishing school will take me a long way to meeting this goal. To meet my goal, I will also prepare my résumé and search for jobs. My goal may not be an easy one to achieve, but things that are worth doing are often not easy.



Notice that the first sentence restates the thesis. The second and third sentences summarize the essay’s subpoints. Finally, the fourth sentence leaves the reader with an interesting final impression.

No new information is presented in this paragraph. Instead, the writer sums up what has been written so far and leaves the reader with a last thought. While the content of the paragraph is very similar to the introduction, the paragraph itself is not exactly the same. This is important. Even though the goal of the conclusion is to restate a lot of the information from the introduction, it should sound different because the conclusion’s purpose is slightly different from the introduction.

Practice writing a conclusion using the sample essay topic and the thesis statement. Remember to support the points you have gathered. Remember to restate your thesis, summarize your subpoints, and leave the reader with an interesting final impression.

For more information development and details, please visit these Purdue OWL resources:

To practice responding to a writing prompt, please use the CWEST GED Essay Game.

SUMMARY:

  • The conclusion needs to 1. restate the paper’s main points 2. answer the question, “Who cares?”, and 3. finish the paper with something punchy.

LINKS:

You have written a beautiful introduction and body, and now you have to finish the draft off by writing the conclusion! You want to finish strong and leave the reader with an interesting closing thought.

That being said, your concluding paragraph has to 1. briefly summarize your work (without sounding redundant), 2. illustrate why your paper is significant, and 3. end with a punch.

The conclusion should be formatted like an upside-down introduction–from the most specific to the most general. Therefore, the first sentence of your conclusion paragraph should describe the main points of your paper:

“Although there were a variety of lesser factors, the ultimate demise of the Roman Empire was a result of three main ones: poor leadership, outside pressure from barbarian forces, and weakening cultural unity.”

“Although Microsoft, Google, and Apple have similar company roots–nerdy college-aged kids tinkering around in garages–they have developed into very different companies. Apple has developed around the personality of a single person, while Microsoft and Google–while heavily influenced by their founders–have taken a less centralized approach.”

The trick with this sentence (or two) is to reiterate your paper’s main idea without sounding redundant. Copying and pasting your thesis is not a good idea. Another bad idea is to start out with a hollow-sounding phrase like “In conclusion,” “In summary,” or “As a whole.” These not-so-subtle phrases are sure to bore your reader.

Next, your conclusion has to relate your issue to a broader idea or question. Let’s say you’re writing a paper on symbolism and social overtones in The Crucible (a play by Arthur Miller about the Salem Witch Trials). In your conclusion, you should explain why your paper is significant.
Who cares? Who cares about Miller’s use of symbolism?

Your conclusion should make a link between the contents of your paper and a larger issue. A larger issue could be something like

  • How the social overtones in the book have influenced how people view the Salem Witch Trials in hindsight
  • How Miller’s style has influenced other playwrights or authors
  • How Miller’s use of symbolism was seen by his contemporaries

Now is not the time to make a wild, unsupported claim. A small connection will suffice.

[Sentence restating paper’s main points about symbols in Miller’s play.] Miller’s use of symbolism in The Crucible dramatizes the hypothetical Salem described in his play. Such dramatization calls into question how much the theoretical Salem in Miller’s play differed from the historical Salem, which is a key question that makes the play so controversial and enduring.

The ‘larger issue’ here is how Miller’s use of symbolism helps underscore the difference between the Salem described in the play and the historical Salem. The difference between the two is a key question.

Another technique you might use for your conclusion is to describe where additional study needs to be done–where your essay stops and another essay could start.

At the end of your conclusion, you should have a punchy sentence that leaves your reader with an interesting thought. One way of doing this is to reconnect your ending sentence with your title:

Say you’re writing a paper on the similarities of Zeus and his son Hercules:
Title: Like Father, Like Son: Exploring Paternal Relationships in Greek Mythology

Concluding sentences: Hercules’ demeanor, athleticism, and attitude are similar to that of his father, Zeus. Both gods exemplify Greek ideals of masculinity. Greek mythological texts, then, reinforce the idea that fathers should pass Greek cultural values onto their sons. The story of Hercules reinforces the colloquial phrase, “like father, like son.”

Here the ‘larger issue’ is how Greek cultural values are shaped by Greek mythology. The ending is punchy. It contains a nice, memorable phrase and circles back to the interesting title.

 

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