If you’ve known me long enough, you probably know how I feel about essay conclusions. If not, then here’s the gist:
They are unnecessary because they are repetitious. That’s it.
However, I realize that we live in a real world where people will require you to write an essay conclusion probably more often than not. In fact, I’ve received questions about this from more than one of my visitors. So, in this post, I’d like to teach you a simple way to write an essay conclusion and to alleviate your biggest worries about this pesky closing paragraph. So, let’s begin. Here’s a simple rule of thumb:
An essay conclusion should simply restate the main point using words that are different from the ones you used in the thesis statement.
That’s it. And let’s look at an example right away. Here is a thesis statement:
In spite of a couple of minor setbacks, a vacation in the Dominican Republic can be totally awesome. There may not be much sight-seeing, and the weather may disappoint in the wrong time of the year. However, beautiful sandy beaches, excellent food, and twenty-four-hour entertainment are bound to make it a winner.
So, if this is the thesis, then how would you rewrite it using different wording? Let’s try:
To sum up, although the scarcity of interesting places to see and a few rainy days could dim the impression, a vacation in the Dominican Republic is very likely to be a success because of the beaches, excellent dining, and the possibility to party non-stop.
If you were paying attention, you noticed that I found a way to repeat each of the pros and cons in different language, except for the word ‘beach’. I simply couldn’t find a better way to say ‘beautiful sandy beaches,’ you see.
And how do you find all these different words? If you find yourself stuck, consult a thesaurus – it’s a great book of synonyms and antonyms. You could use either the ones that are available on the Internet or a real printed book. I use both. My physical thesaurus is Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form – it’s easy to use and is filled with awesome words.
So, as you can see, writing a conclusion is a matter of being able to find a few synonyms or equivalents for the things you already said. So, I hope you can see that the value of a conclusion is pretty weak. It’s simply repeating stuff. Therefore, don’t kill yourself trying to write the best one in the world. Keep it simple.
Now, here are some common instructions on writing essay conclusions that I’ve encountered in the past. I’d like to discuss these just to address some of the questions you may have as you’re reading this:
Common Instruction #1: Offer your own opinion.
This one makes me laugh every time: “Wait a second – I thought my entire essay was my opinion. And if it wasn’t, then what was it?”
Common Instruction #2: Summarize your main points without being redundant/repetitious.
Interesting. To summarize literally means to repeat in fewer words. So, how am I supposed to repeat something without being redundant or repetitious? Hmmmm…
My point here is that when you are asked to write an essay conclusion and are given these or similar instructions, it is no wonder that you become frustrated and don’t know what to write. Of course you are frustrated – sometimes instructions just don’t make a whole lotta sense.
But now you know what to do – simply summarize key points using different wording. That’s it. Remember – your thesis is really your conclusion. Think about it. You’ve done some thinking or some research about something and, as a result, you came to a conclusion; and now you’re writing about it, presenting your conclusions in the opening paragraph as your thesis. Does this make sense?
That said, it is a very good idea to ask your professor or instructor what she thinks a conclusion should include. And then just follow the instructions. This is the surest way to get an A.
Finally, here’s a good post for you to read about Introductions and Conclusions: