How to Write a Conclusion
Very few writers have learned how to write a conclusion to an essay, article, formal research paper, or business letter. All too often, students only received this limited instruction about how to write a conclusion: “Re-state the thesis; write another sentence that summarizes the body paragraphs; then ‘give a finished feeling’ to the writing.” Hard to write an effective conclusion with that kind of limited instruction…
The following strategies will help you learn how to write a conclusion that will be appropriate to the writing task, convince your reader, and also show off your writing skills. The GQ SALES memory trick will help remind you of your conclusion strategy options on timed writing tasks. Not every conclusion strategy fits the purpose of every writing task, so learn and practice these options to increase your writing skill-set.
GQ SALES Conclusion Strategies
- Generalization—Sentences that make one of your specific points more general in focus. (G)
- Question for Further Study—Sentences that mention a related subject or question that is beyond the focus of the essay. (Q)
- Synthesis of Main Points—Sentences that pull together the points proven in the essay to say something new. (S)
- Application—Sentences that apply the proven thesis statement to another idea or issue. (A)
- Argument Limitations—Sentences that explain how or why your conclusions are limited. (L)
- Emphasis of Key Point—Sentences that mention and add importance to one of the points of your essay. (E)
- Statement of Significance—Sentences that discuss the importance and relevance of the proven thesis statement. (S)
For short essays (such as on the SAT®), college applications, business letters), I suggest that two of the strategies listed above, following a concise thesis re-statement will be more than adequate. Flesh out each strategy in a compound-complex sentence or two separate sentences. For longer writing tasks, such as research reports, a few more of the conclusion strategies, developed in separate paragraphs will be appropriate. The writing rule of thumb is 10% of the writing task as introduction paragraph(s), 80% as body paragraphs, and 10% as conclusion paragraph(s).
Think of how to write a conclusion much as a prosecuting attorney uses closing arguments to convince a jury that the defendant is guilty of the crime. Connect your conclusion strategies and thesis re-statement with effective transition words to maintain coherence. The conclusion should flow together as one whole. Every word should move the reader toward the demanded verdict, which is your thesis statement.
Take enough time to pre-write before drafting any writing task. Write your thesis statement first; then, brainstorm the body paragraphs. Next, draft the body paragraphs, skipping space to later write your introductory paragraph. Then, write the introduction. Finish the writing with your conclusion paragraph.
With GQ SALES, you have the right strategies to make your case in your closing arguments. Now that you know how to write a conclusion, all you have to do is to convince your jury.
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