Ways To End An Essay Without Saying In Conclusion Examples
- The conclusion needs to 1. restate the paper’s main points 2. answer the question, “Who cares?”, and 3. finish the paper with something punchy.
You have written a beautiful introduction and body, and now you have to finish the draft off by writing the conclusion! You want to finish strong and leave the reader with an interesting closing thought.
That being said, your concluding paragraph has to 1. briefly summarize your work (without sounding redundant), 2. illustrate why your paper is significant, and 3. end with a punch.
The conclusion should be formatted like an upside-down introduction–from the most specific to the most general. Therefore, the first sentence of your conclusion paragraph should describe the main points of your paper:
“Although there were a variety of lesser factors, the ultimate demise of the Roman Empire was a result of three main ones: poor leadership, outside pressure from barbarian forces, and weakening cultural unity.”
“Although Microsoft, Google, and Apple have similar company roots–nerdy college-aged kids tinkering around in garages–they have developed into very different companies. Apple has developed around the personality of a single person, while Microsoft and Google–while heavily influenced by their founders–have taken a less centralized approach.”
The trick with this sentence (or two) is to reiterate your paper’s main idea without sounding redundant. Copying and pasting your thesis is not a good idea. Another bad idea is to start out with a hollow-sounding phrase like “In conclusion,” “In summary,” or “As a whole.” These not-so-subtle phrases are sure to bore your reader.
Next, your conclusion has to relate your issue to a broader idea or question. Let’s say you’re writing a paper on symbolism and social overtones in The Crucible (a play by Arthur Miller about the Salem Witch Trials). In your conclusion, you should explain why your paper is significant.
Who cares? Who cares about Miller’s use of symbolism?
Your conclusion should make a link between the contents of your paper and a larger issue. A larger issue could be something like
- How the social overtones in the book have influenced how people view the Salem Witch Trials in hindsight
- How Miller’s style has influenced other playwrights or authors
- How Miller’s use of symbolism was seen by his contemporaries
Now is not the time to make a wild, unsupported claim. A small connection will suffice.
[Sentence restating paper’s main points about symbols in Miller’s play.] Miller’s use of symbolism in The Crucible dramatizes the hypothetical Salem described in his play. Such dramatization calls into question how much the theoretical Salem in Miller’s play differed from the historical Salem, which is a key question that makes the play so controversial and enduring.
The ‘larger issue’ here is how Miller’s use of symbolism helps underscore the difference between the Salem described in the play and the historical Salem. The difference between the two is a key question.
Another technique you might use for your conclusion is to describe where additional study needs to be done–where your essay stops and another essay could start.
At the end of your conclusion, you should have a punchy sentence that leaves your reader with an interesting thought. One way of doing this is to reconnect your ending sentence with your title:
Say you’re writing a paper on the similarities of Zeus and his son Hercules:
Title: Like Father, Like Son: Exploring Paternal Relationships in Greek Mythology
Concluding sentences: Hercules’ demeanor, athleticism, and attitude are similar to that of his father, Zeus. Both gods exemplify Greek ideals of masculinity. Greek mythological texts, then, reinforce the idea that fathers should pass Greek cultural values onto their sons. The story of Hercules reinforces the colloquial phrase, “like father, like son.”
Here the ‘larger issue’ is how Greek cultural values are shaped by Greek mythology. The ending is punchy. It contains a nice, memorable phrase and circles back to the interesting title.
Conclusions aren't easy—but they're very important. And contrary to popular belief, they're not simply a place to restate what you've said before in the same way. They're an opportunity to cast all the arguments you've made in a new light.
Conclusions give you a chance to summarize and organize your main points, reminding the reader how effectively you’ve proven your thesis. It’s also your final opportunity to make a lasting impression on your reader.
Simple Conclusion Formula
- Proper, relevant restatement of thesis statement and strongest evidence
- Relevant final thought
As an example, let’s create a conclusion following our two-step process.
Let’s say your thesis statement is:
College athletes should not be paid because many receive compensation in the form of scholarships and benefit from more visibility to potential professional recruiters.
Now we’ll follow our formula to write an effective conclusion.
Restatement of Thesis and Strongest Evidence
The first step in writing our conclusion is to restate the thesis statement.
It’s important not to simply copy your thesis statement word for word. You can also briefly include evidence or other points that were mentioned in your paper.
You could write something like:
College athletes don’t need financial compensation because they receive numerous benefits including scholarships, additional experience and coaching, and exposure to professional teams.
This sentence reminds the reader of our original thesis statement without copying it exactly.
At this point, you could also synthesize 1-2 of the strongest pieces of supporting evidence already mentioned in your essay, such as:
With four years of tuition costing up to hundreds of thousands and salaries in potential professional sports careers averaging millions, these benefits already amount to significant compensation.
Notice that we didn’t start with a transition like, “In conclusion,” or, “In summary.” These transitions aren’t necessary and are often overused.
Relevant Final Thought
You want to end your conclusion with a strong final thought. It should provide your reader with closure and give your essay a memorable or thought-provoking ending.
The last sentence of your conclusion can point to broader implications, like the impact the topic of your essay has had on history, society, or culture.
Another good rule of thumb is to allow your final sentence to answer the question, “So what?” Your reader has spent time reading your paper, but why does any of this matter? Why should your reader—or anyone else—care?
For our sample conclusion, for example, you could write:
Providing still more compensation to college athletes would send the message that they are employees, not students. If we don’t want education to be sidelined, college athletes should not be paid.
This concluding sentence answers the, “So what?” question by explaining the potential repercussions of paying college athletes. It gives the reader a reason to be more invested in your essay and ideas.
Putting It All Together
The conclusion reads:
College athletes don’t need financial compensation because they receive numerous benefits including scholarships, additional experience and coaching, and exposure to professional teams. With four years of tuition costing up to hundreds of thousands and salaries in potential professional sports careers averaging millions, these benefits already amount to significant compensation. Providing still more compensation to college athletes would send the message that they are employees, not students. If we don’t want education to be sidelined, college athletes should not be paid.
To create effective conclusions of your own, remember to follow these guidelines:
- Don’t feel the need to start with overused transitions such as, “In conclusion,” or, “In summary.”
- Restate your thesis statement in a new way.
- You can also restate 1-2 of your strongest pieces of supporting evidence.
- Don’t mention anything in your conclusion that wasn’t mentioned in the body of your essay.
- End with a strong final thought, preferably one that answers the question, “So what?”
By following these simple steps, you’ll craft a conclusion that leaves a powerful final impression on your readers.