Good Ways to Close a Conclusion

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    Don’t Belabor the Obvious

    • In the conclusion, don’t repeat word-for-word your stated content from the body of your essay. A better way to close a paper is to paraphrase your main points or themes and string them together into one succinct, coherent “whole.” Avoid obvious expressions, such as “In summary” or “To sum up.” A quality conclusion should look much like a re-written and more definitive introduction.

    Conclude with a Quotation or Reference

    • One option to close a conclusion is to include a quotation, anecdote, and maybe even a joke from one of your references. This quotation should reiterate the ideas and thesis within your essay or paper. Ideally, end with something thought-provoking; Phrases that are a bit abstract often make the best quotations.

    “So what?” Scenario

    • Conclusions often pose hefty challenges to write; after all, a blown conclusion can mean a poorly written paper. Read aloud each sentence of your conclusion, asking yourself “So what?” Mull over how you can answer this question and ensure that your conclusion covers the important points. The “So what?” method can quickly indicate a weakness in your conclusion if it exists.

    Point to Possibilities

    • Conclusions don’t necessarily need to have a definite answer–especially in scientific papers. Often, papers are relying upon research to point out potential future possibilities. Most science papers will point out definitive data as well as potential possibilities for what the data may mean. These types of papers also often point out suggestions for future research, helping to guide future researchers.


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