- 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.
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.
Have you ever heard that different people learn in different ways? Well, it’s true.
And while some people may be able to learn just by reading the theories on how to do something, you learn differently—you need actual examples.
Just like a protester, politician, or superhero, I’m here to lead by example. I’ve put together a list of essay conclusion examples that covers a range of topics and essay formats to serve as a stepping stone for your own writing.
Why Do You Need a Strong Conclusion?
Before I get into the essay conclusion examples, you should know why writing a strong conclusion is so important. Your conclusion isn’t just a summary of what you’ve already written.
True, it’s a little bit about summarizing, but it should take your essay one step further. Your conclusion should answer any unresolved questions and end your essay with a bang!
In short, an awesome essay conclusion is super important because it rounds out your essay and makes it feel complete.
Now on to the good stuff…
Analytical Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #1: Analyze the theme of compassion for one character in the Hunger Games series.
The obvious choices for compassion in the Hunger Games may be Katniss or Peeta, but the character who personifies compassion best was Prim. Throughout the series, her compassion is seen when she keeps secrets from her mother for Katniss, when she heals Gale after he gets whipped, and through the last act of her life as she rushes to save children in the Capitol. She truly lives Albert Schweitzer’s words, “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
Topic #2: What caused the Civil War?
The importance of each cause of the American Civil War can be debated, but what is fact is that there were several factors that led the South to secede. Slavery, states’ rights, and the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency—even though no state in the South voted for him—all contributed to the war. While it has been nearly 150 years since the Civil War ended, some of the leftover divide between North and South can still be seen in modern America.
Topic #3: Analyze Facebook’s influence on America’s youth.
Though social media allows young users to connect with people across the world and get instantaneous news about the world around them, it also has come with many complications. From access to inaccurate information to the rise of cyberbullying, the bad can sometimes outweigh the good among younger users. With 73% of young Americans ages 12-17 years old using Facebook, it may be time to devise better rules for promoting responsible use.
Topic #4: Analyze the theme of disguise in The Taming of the Shrew.
The theme of disguise in The Taming of the Shrew is evident from the very beginning. The play within a play lets the reader know that every character is an actor. The main characters—Kate, Bianca, and Petruchio—all disguise their true identities and intentions for the same reason: to get what they want.
(Learn how to write an analytical essay outline.)
Expository Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #5: Explain how to write an essay conclusion.
Essay conclusions are pretty simple once you know the framework. It all boils down to three main parts: a transition from the last body paragraph, a summary of the thesis statement and main points of the essay, and a closing statement that wraps everything up. If all students knew this simple formula, maybe essay writing would be easier for everyone.
Want extra guidance with the conclusion framework? Read How to Write a Killer Essay Conclusion.
Topic #6: What is the scientific method?
The scientific method is common sense. First, a person must have a research question he or she wants answered and a little background knowledge on the subject. Then the person forms a hypothesis, or what he or she thinks the answer to the research question is, which the person tests with an experiment. Finally, the person should analyze the data and draw a conclusion. This method can be used both in and out of the scientific realm, testing everything from history to social issues.
Topic #7: What are the causes of homelessness?
Passing by a homeless person is not uncommon, especially in urban settings. Homelessness can be caused by many factors, including job loss, lack of family support, and the diminishing availability of affordable housing. Although it is easy for some to think that homelessness is caused by mental problems or general laziness, there are other factors to consider. Only when the whole scope of the problem is known can society begin to come up with a comprehensive solution.
Topic #8: What is the main cause of global warming?
Most scientists agree that global warming is due to the rapid rise of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. While some may argue that factory farms are the main cause of global warming and others may say it is modern society’s transportation methods, the main cause is clear: mankind.
(Learn more about writing expository essays.)
Narrative Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #9: Write about what it would be like to be put into the pages of Romeo and Juliet.
Being catapulted into the pages of Romeo and Juliet would definitely come with some culture shock. Men would be carrying swords and fighting each other in the street. Girls would be getting married at 13 years old. Had I the knowledge of what would become of the star-crossed lovers, I would have warned Romeo that Juliet’s death was a hoax and to wait until she woke up. This, of course, would make the play quite different, but I would feel that it was my duty after having spent so much time with the characters.
Topic #10: A time machine has taken you back to meet your favorite author (Edgar Allan Poe in this case). Write about that meeting.
As Edgar and I were discussing the common themes and dark imagery of his works, the waiter interrupted us. I reached for the wine decanter, poured myself a glass, and asked if he would like some.
“No thanks,” he said, laughing grimly. “After all, it might be poisoned.”
Topic #11: Tell about your proudest moment.
Standing up for my little brother made me feel like the character who everyone likes in those after-school sitcoms. I was able to confront the kid who was bullying my little brother without using threats or physical force. In the end, encouraging the two to have an open dialogue brought them closer, and while they may never be best friends, at least they can respect each other.
Topic #12: Write about an event that made you who you are today.
My abuse did not and does not define me, but I would not be the same person had I not gone through it. It took a while and there were setbacks, but I’m a stronger, more compassionate person because of the traumatic events that happened. I hope others never have to go through the same thing I did, but if they do, I hope they can learn from my example and find the help they need to change their situation for the better.
(Learn more about writing narrative essays.)
Persuasive Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #13: Should Hermione have ended up with Harry instead of Ron in the Harry Potter series?
Harry may be the main character of the Harry Potter series and J.K. Rowling may have stated recently that even she thinks Hermione and Harry should have ended up together, but the characters are much too similar. They are both natural leaders, which would create a lot of relationship tension. Ron, on the other hand, is the Type B to balance Hermione’s Type A personality. Since Harry ended up with Ron’s sister, Ginny, all three main characters are married into the same family. That certainly would make holiday get-togethers much more entertaining.
Topic #14: Should college education be free?
The amount of student loan debt is an indication that something is definitely wrong with the system. Although universities need an income to survive, getting a college education should still come at no direct cost to the student. Free education would allow for a more educated nation as a whole, it would leave some students with more time to work more on their studies than their jobs, and it could encourage universities to get more creative. If more universities embraced the Pay It Forward model, the United States might become one of the most educated countries in the world.
Topic #15: What is the most important thing high school students should be learning but aren’t?
There are many areas where public high school education could improve, but the most important is financial planning. While some may argue for better nutrition or fitness programs, that information is easily available online and even in commercials—and should actually be taught starting in elementary school. Stronger financial planning curricula would teach high schoolers how to establish credit, how to save for retirement, and how to budget. All of these are important for life in the real world but can be filled with confusing jargon and advertising schemes. With Americans having more than $11 trillion in debt, it is time the younger generation be taught how not to be another statistic.
Topic #16: Should kids get participation trophies?
Many Baby Boomers believe that participation trophies serve as a symbol of millennials’ sense of entitlement. In reality, the participation trophy does not diminish any sense of competition or drive for improvement. When there are performance-based awards in addition to participation awards, it mirrors the real world where average-performing employees still get paid and well-performing people get bonuses, raises, and promotions.
(Learn more about writing persuasive essays.)
Argumentative Essay Conclusion Examples
Topic #17: Should nuclear weapons be banned in all countries?
Because of the political tensions between different countries, it is not likely that a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons would be followed by every world leader. It is important that other countries be able to protect themselves from potential attacks with equally strong weapons. However, more limitations on testing and launch authorizations should be enforced to ensure hot-headed leaders do not use or even advertise these dangerous weapons simply as a show of force.
Topic #18: Are pre-employment drug tests an invasion of privacy?
Although companies need to hire capable, dependable employees, they should not be able to dictate what their employees do in the comfort of their own homes. There are better ways of determining whether someone is right for a position, including education, past employment, personal and professional references, and trial periods.
Topic #19: Should prisoners have the right to vote?
Although some people fear that granting prisoners the right to vote may lead to more relaxed laws surrounding specific crimes, prisoners are part of the American population. A truly democratic process includes everyone’s voices, even those who have made mistakes.
Topic #20: Should parents be allowed to spank their children?
Spanking has become an outdated and lazy way of punishing children. It teaches them that meeting other people’s bad behavior with violence is acceptable. If children are old enough to understand why they are being spanked, they are old enough to think about their bad behavior logically and understand why it was wrong.
(Learn more about writing argumentative essays.)
A Final Word on Final Paragraphs
As you probably noticed given the variety of essay conclusion examples above, there are a lot of ways to end an essay. Generally, there will be a summary, but narrative essays might carry an exception.
These types of essays allow you to be more creative with your conclusion. You should still try to end the essay with a sense of closure even if, as in the case of Topic #8, this means ending on a somewhat ominous note.
No matter how you learn, it’s pretty helpful to have practical examples. And now that you do, you can get to finishing your own essay.
Once your essay is drafted, have one of Kibin’s talented editors take a look at it for you.
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