After writing an entire essay, writing the conclusion paragraph may seem like a mere formality or a tedious chore. But conclusion paragraphs can hold a lot of power to impact how a reader receives an essay. The conclusion paragraph is the writer’s last chance to make sure that their ideas have come across in the ways that they intended. The conclusion synthesizes all of the information in a way that feels new for the reader but leaves them with an enduring message. A great conclusion can help the reader to comprehend what they just read, why it matters, and how they can apply it to their own lives.
The conclusion is the writer’s chance to go beyond the prompt and connect their paper to the world around them. If the introduction acts as a first impression, the conclusion paragraph is a last impression. While different disciplines may desire different functions of a conclusion and there is no “formula” to writing the perfect one, these strategies can be a great starting point in writing a conclusion that closes an essay with finesse.
Answer the Question: “So What?”
Perhaps the most important function of a conclusion paragraph in any essay is that it provides the essay with a level of significance and importance. In answering the question “so what?”, the conclusion will tell readers why what they’ve just read matters.
An essay is a journey for its’ readers and the conclusion works to signal to the reader that their journey is not only finished, but also that it was whole and complete. This effect is often created by echoing ideas in the conclusion that were introduced earlier in the essay. Instead of simply repeating the thesis or general ideas of the essay, the conclusion is an opportunity to recast these ideas with a deeper and more refined perspective.
Expand the Scope
The conclusion often works well when structured like a triangle, starting with the more narrow and focused ideas of the essay and then moving on to how those ideas can be translated and applied to a greater concept. In an English or Humanities paper, the conclusion may state how the ideas of the essay reveal something about a greater universal truth. For a more research-based paper, the conclusion may suggest ways in which the findings of the paper impact the field of study.
Raise Questions and Discuss Implications
By raising questions for the reader, the conclusion leaves them with something to think about. It allows them to use the knowledge that has been provided to them and apply it to broader ideas. It urges them to make connections and form their own opinions. The conclusion can hint at what the ideas of the essay imply for the reader, for the field of study, or even for society.
Call the Reader to Action
One of the more daring and bold functions that a conclusion can hold is that of charging the reader with action. In doing this, the conclusion uses all of the assertions and evidence provided in the essay to propose a solution to a problem or convince the reader to react in a certain way.