Your conclusion paragraph should logically conclude your essay, just like your conclusion sentences logically conclude your body paragraphs. The conclusion paragraph should begin by restating your thesis, and then you should broaden back out to a general topic. End with a closing statement.
Restate your thesis
The first sentence of your concluding paragraph should restate your thesis.
Example: Restated thesis
Thesis: Some of the most impactful inventions of the nineteenth century that changed the way we live were the telephone, the bicycle, and plastic.
Restated Thesis: It is obvious that these three nineteenth-century inventions dramatically changed our lifestyles.
The thesis changed by implying the main points, instead of stating them directly. Even though the words were changed, the overall meaning did not change. Other ways to restate a thesis include reversing the order of the clauses or using different word forms (e.g., adjective to noun: essential > the importance).
How to Paraphrase a Thesis Statement
A restated thesis statement says the ideas from the thesis statement again but in different words. It is a paraphrase of the original thesis statement.
An Effective Paraphrase:
- explains the most important parts of the original
- is written in your own words.
- keeps the original meaning.
- does not merely cut and copy from the original
How to Make a Paraphrase
- Determine your purpose.
- Read or listen to what you will paraphrase
- Make a list of the main points
- Write the paraphrase.
- Compare the paraphrase to the original
(Adapted from Stephen, n.d.)
Apply your thesis to general contexts
There are a few options for the supporting sentences of a conclusion paragraph. All of these options build off the main idea from the restated thesis.
- You could summarize the most important supporting details from your essay.
- This is done by paraphrasing your topic sentences effectively.
- You could mirror your introduction and connect your thesis back to the general topics you mentioned in your introduction.
- This polishes off the essay in a refined way. Including the same ideas in the first paragraph and the last paragraph bookends the essay the same way the covers of a book contain a story.
- You could show the importance and impact of the main idea from the restated thesis statement by discussing that idea's effect on the real world.
- This is usually done with a large scope in mind. How does your idea impact a larger community or the world? What impact will it have in the future?
Give a closing statement
Your concluding statement is very similar to the concluding sentence of a body paragraph except that you will not restate your main idea at the very end of your paper. Your closing statement can be a prediction, suggestion, or opinion.
A conclusion's role in an essay
The primary role, job, of a conclusion in an essay is to finish off the essay in a logical way. Just like if you listened to a song that stopped halfway through if you read an essay without a conclusion, it feels unfinished.
A conclusion is an idea that is reached after someone considers evidence about a topic. All the ideas, details, explanations, and reasonings build up to the conclusion.
Usually, this conclusion is stated in the restated thesis statement. The sentences after the restated thesis statement can either summarize the main reasons that support that conclusion or they can show the impact of that conclusion on the real world. The last sentence, the concluding sentence, should be memorable so that people remember the conclusion from the restated thesis statement. It is like the grand finale in a song that leaves a lasting impression.
All of these pieces build on the ideas from the previous paragraphs, so the reader understands at the end of the essay what the essay was all about, the main idea.
Exercise 1: Paraphrasing Practice
Pretend you are writing an essay to answer the prompt below. You have already written your thesis statement. You are now writing the restated thesis statement. To practice your paraphrasing skills, write three versions of the same restated thesis statement on the lines below. A completed example done with a different prompt has been given.
Prompt: What is one problem in your community that needs to be solved?
Thesis: If each citizen could help in solving the widespread problem of littering in our city, it could help clean up parks and public spaces, eliminate the excessive animal refuse, and create a sense of pride in the members of out community.
Prompt: Should schools teach foreign languages?
Thesis: Schools need to teach different languages because it helps the youth to be better prepared for the future, having more opportunities and developing their skills.
Restated Thesis Versions:
1. In conclusion, students are benefited in schools that teach a foreign language because they are not only better prepared for future opportunities but also they develop skills.
2. In closing, the preparation for future opportunities and skill development available to students in schools that teach a foreign language are two of the main reasons schools need to teach foreign languages.
3. In fine, there are many benefits for students learning a foreign language which is why schools should include these courses.
Exercise 2: Concluding Paragraph Analysis
Read the example student's thesis statement and concluding paragraph.
- Does the paragraph appropriately restate the thesis?
- Does the author apply the main idea to general topics?
- Does the writer include a closing statement?
- Do you think this is effective as a concluding paragraph? Why or why not?
Thesis Statement: Schools need to teach different languages because it helps the youth to be better prepare for the future, having more opportunities and developing their skills.
In conclusion, students are benefited in schools that teach a foreign language because they are not only better prepared for the future opportunities but also they develop skills. And for those reasons I do believe government officials should encourage more this practice in private and public schools.
Exercise 3: Consider the Cohesion
Analyze the conclusion paragraph from the example essay at the end of this chapter:
Consider these questions:
- Are all the parts of the conclusion paragraph included?
- How does this conclusion connect with the rest of the essay?
- What specific language does the author use that you could use in any conclusion?