The Conclusion

The conclusion paragraph is the most straightforward paragraph of the essay. It serves one purpose: to indicate to the reader that the writer has delivered the necessary points and is about to end the essay. More important to remember, however, is what the conclusion paragraph should not do: in most cases, it should not introduce any new points. Keep in mind that the conclusion should not be more than three sentences in most case. Usually, two are enough, sometimes even one.

The conclusion is essentially a summary of the essay. It repeats/rephrases the thesis and summarizes or highlights the main points. This is true of the recommended essay approach we have seen in the previous sections. The only time a conclusion serves a more important function is when the writer uses a weaker to stronger approach to the essay. In this case, the conclusion will likely state, for the first time, the thesis of the essay. In this approach, the introduction merely sets up the topic and approach and leaves the thesis to be reached as a conclusion in the last paragraph. In this case, as well, the conclusion may be longer than the usual length, because its function is different.

For a standard conclusion, the transition does not necessarily have to bridge the last idea in the body to anything else. Because we do not introduce any new points, the conclusion is a paragraph stands on its own. There are several ways to transition into it:

  • In conclusion…
  • To conclude…
  • To sum up…
  • In summary…
  • In the final analysis… (suggested for weak – strong approach)

You do not need to be too creative here. Again, this paragraph is simple, direct, and purely functional. It should not add to your overall essay other than to tie it together.

Let’s look again at our essay. Here we have the last body paragraph of that essay:

Lastly, of course, are the advances in medical treatments due to nuclear technology. Equipment such as MRI scanners, and radiation treatments for cancer, have saved countless lives and will continue to do so. In this sense, then, nuclear technology is of immeasurable benefit to humanity.

Begin your conclusion with a simple transition (conclusion phrase) and a paraphrase of your thesis. Do not repeat the thesis you used in the introduction word for word. Say the same thing, but in a different way.

Our original thesis was:

I think that the positive uses of nuclear technology outweigh the negative ones to some degree because even though nuclear technology can hurt people, it can contribute more positively overall by providing people with clean air, affordable energy, and effective medical treatments.

Here are a few sample openings to our conclusion:

In conclusion, the benefits of nuclear technology are relatively greater than its harmful aspects.

To sum up, nuclear technology can provide benefits to humanity that more than make up for any harm it does.

In summary, when we consider the effects of nuclear technology on humanity, the benefits seem to be greater than the demerits.

We can now add our highlights. Again, use different words and “squeeze” all the main information into one or two sentences:

In conclusion, the benefits of nuclear technology are relatively greater than its harmful aspects. This technology allows us to breathe cleaner air because of low emissions, improves our economy as we rely less on imported fuels, and it can increase our life spans with better medical treatments.

That is all you need to say in the conclusion. Notice that no new information is provided.

To see an essay in which the conclusion is the point in which the writer states the thesis, click here.