How Do I Write a Conclusion

Most new writers, and some pros, often struggle with how to write a conclusion

This question we’re often asked, “How do I write a conclusion?”. I’ll start by stating, and cannot stress enough, the importance of writing multiple drafts. Both an introduction and a conclusion are going to be somewhat summary paragraphs, which explain why you’re making the argument you’re making in your paper. But whereas the introduction gives context and establishes the basis for your argument, the conclusion extends that argument to a larger context and emphasizes the significance of the argument you’ve made.

Dear Tori,

I’m really good at introductions, but I stink at conclusions. I feel like I always have so much to say that there’s never really a good ending point. How can I write strong, memorable conclusions?

What does drafting, re-drafting and (self editing) have to do with writing strong, memorable conclusions? Everything.

When you write multiple drafts, you’ll often find that the summing-up-of-points and establishing-of-a-larger-context that you do in your first draft’s conclusion actually gives you a better idea of what your thesis statement should be. You can then go back and re-align your paper with the stronger thesis in mind. With your refined thesis, you’ll be able to focus your body paragraphs better. And with more focused body paragraphs, there should be a clearer sense of a culmination of your argument.

The thing to remember about essays is that the order of your arguments is important. You shouldn’t be thinking about an introduction, some interchangeable body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Rather, you should be thinking about a way to present an argument that builds and culminates in a sort of revelation for your reader.

Your Introduction Must Focus on The Conclusion

Your introduction is written with the conclusion in mind. Your body paragraphs build on one another, guiding your readers toward your conclusion. And your conclusion is the oomph that drives your point home.

I’ve found that a good way to make my conclusion strong and memorable is often to challenge myself with a counterargument or a contrary opinion. I make myself face my harshest critic, and prove to that person that, even with a conflicting interpretation of the evidence I’ve presented, I raise a good point.

Whereas the introduction orients your argument in the specific context you’re exploring, your conclusion expands that context to the larger “so what” in which your argument is significant. It’s the reason you wrote your paper. Or, if you really only wrote your paper because it was an assignment and you have to, then your conclusion is the reason you chose to write about what you did for your paper.

Have a question for the editors? Keep those questions coming by emailing with any questions you might have. We look forward to hearing from you!


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