College Study Skills Online Home Page
Learning Skills Class Page
Regional Academic Center Students
Addtional Resources
Workshop Information
Academic Resource Center Website
Mercer University Website


Click to Return to Writing Page View a printer-friendly version of this information.

How to End an Essay

PURPOSES:           

  1. To wrap up the paper and give it a sense of finality.
  2. To emphasize the main points of the paper (echoing the thesis).
  3. To review the major sub-topic of the paper (use only for long papers 1,000 words or more).
  4. To give the results of a chain of reasoning developed throughout the body: “Therefore, in light of these factors, there is only one conclusion
    we can reach. . .”
  5. To call for action in response to what is given in the body:
    “What, then, can we do about the Defense Department waste and corruption?  We, as taxpayers, can . . .”

SAMPLE CONCLUSIONS:

Topic:             My favorite season

Conclusion:  With its blooming trees, budding flowers and singing birds,
spring has got to be the nicest time of year.  Others can have their warm summer beaches, their crisp autumn air. I enjoy anticipating the freshness, beauty, and newness of spring, my favorite season.

or

Given its incredible warmth, freshness, and beauty, spring is
the most delightful season—not only for lovers, but for 
anyone who enjoys the great out-of-doors.  One of the greatest tributes to spring was made by the immortal English poet, John Milton:  “In those vernal seasons of the year, when the air is calm and pleasant, it were an injury and sullenness against Nature not to go out and see her riches, and partake in her rejoicing with heaven and earth.”

Topic:             My favorite pastime

Conclusion:  Thus, for me, nothing can beat the adventure and sense of
history one gets from scuba diving off the Greek coast.  Vacations to other places have their own charms, of course.  But given a choice of where to go, I would say, “It’s Greek to me!”

Remember:  Conclusions are for shaping attitudes, not for adding information.

OTHER SUGGESTIONS

  1. With a final paragraph or sentence that completes the logical pattern that the essay has been developing. 
  2. With a rephrasing and reassertion of the main thesis. 
  3. With a concluding opinion supported by the previous discussion. 
  4. With a speculative question or statement that leaves the subject open for further thought. 
  5. With musing upon the broader implications of the topic. 
  6. With a return to the theme, question, or image in the opening paragraph so that the essay is rounded out. 
  7. With an ironic twist or unexpected turn of thought. 
  8. With a note of high persuasion or challenge, comparable to the peroration of the classical oration. 
  9. With an appropriate anecdote. 
  10. With a telling quotation. 
  11. With a descriptive passage, using the setting as a final commentary.
  12. With a laugh.