Blog / How to Conclude an Essay with a Bang Not a Whimper
A conclusion should be strong. The last impression matters no less than the first one. Typically, a reader judges their experience based on what they’ve read last. Therefore, you shouldn’t miss the chance to make a favorable impression of you as a thinker and writer in the powerful conclusion.
The essay conclusion should bring a sense of closure to your reader. At the same time, it should inspire a new discussion by pointing at the larger meaning and implications of the topic.
To provide a sense of closure in the final paragraph:
Make a connection between the first and the last paragraphs. Simple reiteration of a word or a phrase will do the trick.
Aim for simplicity. Monosyllabic language can cause an effect of understated drama.
Use compound or parallel sentences to make a conclusion more balanced. A pattern of repetition will bring some closure to a complex discussion.
To end the discussion without closing it off:
Underscore your point or offer a slightly different perspective by concluding with a direct quote from the primary or secondary source. To emphasize your argument, go for a quote from a book you are discussing. Alternatively, use an opposing scholarly opinion to look at the subject matter from a different angle. For example, you might conclude an essay on the use of irony in Wallace’s Infinite Jest by adding texture to your writing with the author’s direct quote. Or you might end your final point with the scorching critique of the book’s cult following, which is ironic in itself. However, a caveat is due here: whatever you include in the ending paragraph of your essay, make sure to have the last word.
Put your discussion in the context of a larger conversation. For instance, link your essay on slavery to the modern instances of institutional racism.
End your essay by assigning new meanings to its key terms. For example, conclude an essay on the Marxist critique of capitalism by redefining the term “crisis of capitalism” as “the crisis of morality” and, thereby, rejecting the premise that freedom can be reduced to the exercise of economic power.
Use the conclusion to consider the implications of your argument. What does your discussion suggest? For instance, an essay on cisgender privilege might open with the idea that a revolutionary path lies ahead of those taking the intersex and transgender discourse seriously. The conclusion might offer a new but related point that the gradual reformation of a social agenda is impossible in the ossified intellectual environment of the West.
How not to conclude an essay:
Avoid summarizing an essay. You can go for a brief summary of the key argument if your essay is more than ten pages However, don’t rehash your main points in the conclusion of a short essay.
Evade phrases such as “in conclusion”, “in summary”, “to sum up”, Reserve them for oral presentations. The final paragraph is a sufficient indication of the fact that the narrative is about to end. By pointing out the obvious your risk irritating your readers.
Avoid apologizing for your work. After thoroughly researching a topic, you know way more about it than several pages of discussion can hold. The conclusion places you in a position to persuade your readers. Therefore, you should forsake self-doubt and avoid including sentences that undermine your authority.