Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide

Essay Lab Glossary

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Conclusion

Definition:

We thought about putting this one at the end of the glossary, but worried it might be confusing in terms of the alphabet. We think we made the right call.

When writers reach the conclusions of their essays, they’re usually so overcome with joy that they end up writing sloppy final paragraphs. (And going out for ice cream to celebrate, but who can blame them?) This can be a huge mistake, because the conclusion is what your readers will read last, and therefore what they will remember most after they put down your paper. Unless they get a call that they won a huge sweepstakes just as they’re finishing it. No offense to you and your paper, but winning $100,000 may etch itself a bit more forcefully into their memory.

Your conclusion paragraph should neatly wrap up all the ideas that you’ve already developed in your paper. You can even put a big red bow on top if you feel like it. You could also restate the ideas you opened the paper with—the ideas you brought up in the introduction—but remember to keep the conclusion fresh rather than repetitive by adding a new element to these same ideas. Fresh is always better. Except when it comes to New York-style pizza.

Some of the questions you can aim to answer in the conclusion are

  • So what?
  • Why does all of this matter?
  • Now that you’ve read this, how should your thinking change?

Some writers also conclude their essays by summarizing the main points they made. Others conclude with an anecdote that supports their main claims. Yet others conclude with a word search, but we feel like word searches are kind of anti-climactic.