How to Write a Conclusion for Every Writing Project
You’re writing an essay for school, a report for work, or an article for fun, and everything’s going well. The only thing left to do is write the conclusion. Easy right? After all, you’ve already done most of the hard work already in the main body of your writing. But, conclusions, while short, can often be the hardest part to write.
Keep reading to find out how you can finish strong on any piece of written work with the perfect conclusion.
What is a Conclusion?
A conclusion is the final paragraph or two of a piece of written work. You’ll most often find conclusions in essays, articles, or research papers. But really, conclusions can be useful in almost any piece of writing.
What you include in a conclusion will all depend on the type of writing you’re doing.
In general, a conclusion should:
- Restate the main point you’re making in your writing.
- Summarize your main points or arguments.
- Tie all this together with a final emotive and powerful thought or a few closing lines.
How to Write a Conclusion
Here’s how to wrap up any piece of writing with a well-written conclusion.
1. Restate Your Main Point
Readers should know what your piece of writing is about by the time they reach your conclusion. But if you took 3,000 words to explain it, for example, it can help to condense your main message into one or two succinct sentences in your conclusion.
Instead of simply restating your point in the same words, though, aim to convey it in a fresh way, now that the reader has all the context you gave them in the body of your writing.
Ask yourself, if the reader only left with one thing in mind, what would you want this to be?
2. Summarize or Synthesize Your Main Arguments
If you’ve just created a long piece of writing, it can be easy for the reader to forget certain points you’ve made throughout. To make sure they leave with everything they need to know, summarize your key points in your conclusion.
Keep this short, though, to avoid repeating yourself too much.
And go beyond a simple summary by synthesizing your main points, too. Tell the reader how exactly these points all come together to support your overall argument
3. Refer Back to your Introduction
To tie everything together nicely in your conclusion, consider referring back to something you mentioned in your introduction.
This could be a story you opened with or a key statistic you brought up that the reader will now have a better understanding of.
4. Use Powerful and Emotive Language
You want your conclusion to be clear and concise, but don’t be afraid to amp up the emotion slightly. Use powerful words, create a strong visual image, and be direct with the point you’re trying to make.
If your piece of writing is trying to convince the reader of something, this is your chance to tap into emotion to make it happen.
5. Include a Call to Action
This will depend on the type of writing you’re working on, of course, but the conclusion is the ideal place for a call to action.
A call to action is something you ask the reader to do.
This could be a point you want the reader to think about or further research that needs to be done. If you’re writing for a business, now’s the time to direct the reader towards signing up for your newsletter or reading another article, for example.
Your call to action could be:
- “Download the app today to start your 30-day free trial.”
- “Check out our free guide on email marketing to learn more tips to boost your bottom line.”
- “Subscribe to our newsletter so you never miss the expert advice that will 10x your business.”
In your call to action, use strong verbs, make a clear offer, and offer value to the reader.
6. Ask Yourself “So What?”
This is a common tip when writing a conclusion for an essay or school report. And it’s popular for a reason.
Ask yourself “so what?” when you make a statement in your conclusion. Why should the reader care about this? What are you actually trying to say? Why is this an important piece of information to know?
By asking yourself “so what?” you can go beyond making general statements and get to the important stuff.
You can also use the “so what?” method while writing the rest of your essay or report to make sure you’re always sharing something valuable with the reader and fully explaining your points.
What Not to Include in a Conclusion
Here are a few things to keep out of your conclusion.
New Ideas, Research, or Experts
Your conclusion isn’t the place to introduce a new argument, explain a new piece of research, or bring in a quote from a new expert (although feel free to include a quote from an expert you’ve already introduced).
Keep brand new things for the body of your writing.
Your conclusion should only cover points you’ve already explained and fleshed out in full and act as more of a final sum up and closing statement, rather than an additional section in your writing.
The Words “In Conclusion”
This is a divisive one, but most of the time, you don’t actually need to say the words “in conclusion” for the reader to know they’re reading your conclusion. Let the style — summarizing and wrapping up — show them.
A Copy and Paste of Your Arguments
While you want to go over your main argument and key points, you don’t want to simply copy and paste them in or otherwise repeat them in a similar way.
Try paraphrasing them and explaining them in a new way now the reader has all the background research and evidence you’ve explained in the body of your writing.
How Long Should a Conclusion Be?
The length of your conclusion will all depend on the type of writing you’re working on.
An essay, for example, may need a conclusion that is one or two paragraphs long, whereas a short article may only need a few sentences. A research paper, on the other hand, may need a much longer conclusion as you cover what further research needs to be done.
As a rough rule, your conclusion should be about 10% of your overall word count.
Those were our tips on how to write a conclusion. Remember to restate your main argument, bring together your key points, and ask yourself “so what?”
Want more writing tips? We’ve covered how to write better emails, how to write a memo, and how to write a congratulatory message on achievement.