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Want to know how to write a conclusion?

Writing a conclusion can be somewhat of a paradox. The reason for this is that you have done the main work of your essay and are virtually at the end. Surely this should mean a cause for celebration or at the very least relief? For some strange reason, it isn’t. Writing a conclusion can cause all sorts of perplexes. The fear and bewilderment when faced with writing a conclusion results in a manner of ways:

The aforementioned methods of writing a conclusion are to be avoided. They will add nothing to your essay whatsoever. Now that we have dealt with methods that do not work, we can consider how to write a conclusion in ways that do help to improve your essay.

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A conclusion is what brings closure to your essay. It should leave the reader fully comprehending how you leave your argument, feeling satisfied and also thoughtful. A conclusion should:

  • paraphrase your thesis
  • strengthen your belief in your main points from the body of your essay
  • conclude as to why this is important to the topic that you are researching and arguing about

In your introduction, you will have stated your thesis which is the argument that you will prove. It is difficult in the course of an article to cover all subjects so for the sake of simplicity, this article will choose a sample thesis to demonstrate the most productive way to write a conclusion. In other words, we will use the thesis:

“The work of Shakespeare has become elite. It is no longer part of the identity of the working classes.”

When you write your conclusion, you would not state that word for word. Instead you might offer “Although for centuries, the plays of William Shakespeare were accessible to the working class, it could be suggested that seeing a work of Shakespeare voluntarily in the 21st century is something that only the middle and upper classes do.”

Paraphrasing your thesis demonstrates that you fully understand your argument and that you can see the wider picture of it. It also highlights your use of language which is something that should always happen in any form of writing.

This is probably the most difficult part of writing the conclusion because it is the largest part of your essay and it needs to be reduced to a few sentences. You may find that you get carried away and your conclusion is as long as your main body simply for the fact that you want to throw everything in. Therefore, it is much easier when writing your conclusion if you have a plan.

  • Read through the main body of your essay.
  • Open a separate file on your laptop and do a list that is made up of the main points of your essay.
  • Each point should be no more than one sentence long.
  • Take each point on its own and read it through.
  • This next tip is useful in all sorts of writing. You need to learn how to do what creative writers call an ‘elevator pitch’. The idea is that if you shared a lift with a publisher or agent, you would simply have time to tell them two sentences about the book you are writing. Obviously, the sentences have to be strong enough to make the said publisher sign you up immediately. It takes time to get your elevator pitches for your points slick and concise but it is worth it to make sure that your conclusion is memorable.
  • Add them to the paraphrase of your thesis.

For instance, if we return to the Shakespeare example “the work of Shakespeare has become elite. It is no longer part of the working class identity” if point one was made up of the evidence that the working class did identify with Shakespeare in the past, you may have used newspaper articles from the archives. These primary sources that were reported as they happened tell of an amateur actor called Shakespeare Hirst that owned a pub in Huddersfield. (Huddersfield Chronicle, 24th April 1879) The man in question was named after William Shakespeare because his father loved the Bard’s plays. Every Sunday night, Shakespeare Hirst would dress up and perform monologues for the people in the working class establishment. Within your essay you will have defined what you mean by identity and have argued your point using various sources such as the aforementioned one. In your conclusion, you would have to summarise. For instance, you might state:

“The use of primary sources demonstrates that the working class people of Huddersfield identified with Shakespeare both by naming their children after him and as a way of entertaining themselves.”

Don’t worry if this seems a difficult step to take. The more you practise summarising the easier it becomes, in most cases. If you find that you cannot review a point because every time you try to get it down to one or two sentences, your thought processes become jumbled or you find yourself writing a full page again, you need to stop. It is highly likely that you have got a problem in the main body of your essay. Don’t see this as catastrophic, it isn’t. it is simply something that needs to be readdressed. The reason that you cannot get your point summarised is because of one of two reasons.

  • If your thoughts are mixed up every time you try to write your point for your conclusion, there is a strong probability that you have not thought your point through clearly. This will show in your essay and you will lose marks. The best course of action to take is to return to it and take time to get clarity on it.
  • The second reason why you may not be able to summarise your point is if you find that you are writing a full page on it again, you may have more than one point tangled up with another one. Again, you should return to your point and get it clear in your mind.

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