ConclusionHow to end

While getting started can be very difficult, finishing an essay is usually quite straightforward. By the time you reach the end you will already know what the main points of the essay are, so it will be easy for you to write a summary of the essay and finish with some kind of final comment, which are the two components of a good conclusion. An example essay has been given below to help you understand both of these, and there is a checklist at the end which you can use for editing your conclusion.


In short, the concluding paragraph consists of the following two parts:

  • a summary of the main points
  • your final comment on the subject

Summary

It is important, at the end of the essay, to summarise the main points. If your thesis statement is detailed enough, then your summary can just be a restatement of your thesis using different words. The summary should include all the main points of the essay, and should begin with a suitable transition signal. You should not add any new information at this point.


The following is an example of a summary for a short essay on cars (given below):


In conclusion, while the car is advantageous for its convenience, it has some important disadvantages, in particular the pollution it causes and the rise of traffic jams.


Although this summary is only one sentence long, it contains the main (controlling) ideas from all three paragraphs in the main body. It also has a clear transition signal ('In conclusion') to show that this is the end of the essay.


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Final comment

Once the essay is finished and the writer has given a summary, there should be some kind of final comment about the topic. This should be related to the ideas is in the main body. Your final comment might:

  • offer solutions to any problems mentioned in the body
  • offer recommendations for future action
  • give suggestions for future research

Here is an example of a final comment for the essay on cars:


If countries can invest in the development of technology for green fuels, and if car owners can think of alternatives such as car sharing, then some of these problems can be lessened.


This final comment offers solutions, and is related to the ideas in the main body. One of the disadvantages in the body was pollution, so the writer suggests developing 'green fuels' to help tackle this problem. The second disadvantage was traffic congestion, and the writer again suggests a solution, 'car sharing'. By giving these suggestions related to the ideas in the main body, the writer has brought the essay to a successful close.



Example essay

Below is a discussion essay which looks at the advantages and disadvantages of car ownership. This essay is used throughout the essay writing section to help you understand different aspects of essay writing. Here it focuses on the summary and final comment of the conclusion (mentioned on this page), the thesis statement and general statements of the introduction, and topic sentences and controlling ideas. Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes to the right) to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay.


General
statements
Thesis
statement
  
Topic
sentences
Controlling ideas
1
2
3
1
2
3
  
Summary
Final
comment

Although they were invented almost a hundred years ago, for decades cars were only owned by the rich. Since the 60s and 70s they have become increasingly affordable, and now most families in developed nations, and a growing number in developing countries, own a car. While cars have undoubted advantages, of which their convenience is the most apparent, they have significant drawbacks, most notably pollution and traffic problems.

The most striking advantage of the car is its convenience. When travelling long distance, there may be only one choice of bus or train per day, which may be at an unsuitable time. The car, however, allows people to travel at any time they wish, and to almost any destination they choose.

Despite this advantage, cars have many significant disadvantages, the most important of which is the pollution they cause. Almost all cars run either on petrol or diesel fuel, both of which are fossil fuels. Burning these fuels causes the car to emit serious pollutants, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrous oxide. Not only are these gases harmful for health, causing respiratory disease and other illnesses, they also contribute to global warming, an increasing problem in the modern world. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (2013), transportation in the US accounts for 30% of all carbon dioxide production in that country, with 60% of these emissions coming from cars and small trucks. In short, pollution is a major drawback of cars.

A further disadvantage is the traffic problems that they cause in many cities and towns of the world. While car ownership is increasing in almost all countries of the world, especially in developing countries, the amount of available roadway in cities is not increasing at an equal pace. This can lead to traffic congestion, in particular during the morning and evening rush hour. In some cities, this congestion can be severe, and delays of several hours can be a common occurrence. Such congestion can also affect those people who travel out of cities at the weekend. Spending hours sitting in an idle car means that this form of transport can in fact be less convenient than trains or aeroplanes or other forms of public transport.

In conclusion, while the car is advantageous for its convenience, it has some important disadvantages, in particular the pollution it causes and the rise of traffic jams. If countries can invest in the development of technology for green fuels, and if car owners can think of alternatives such as car sharing, then some of these problems can be lessened.


Union of Concerned Scientists (2013). Car Emissions and Global Warming. www.ucsusa.org/clean vehicles/why-clean-cars/global-warming/ (Access date: 8 August, 2013)

General
statements
 
Thesis
statement
 
Topic
sentences
1
2
3
 
Controlling ideas
1
2
3
 
Summary
 
Final
comment



Checklist

Below is a checklist for an essay conclusion. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.


Item OK? Comment
The conclusion begins with a suitable transition signal (e.g. 'In conclusion...', 'To summarise...', 'In sum...')
The conclusion has a summary of the main ideas
The conclusion ends with a final comment (the writer's idea or a recommendation)



Next section

Find out how to improve the cohesion of your writing.




Previous section

Go back to the previous section about the main body of an essay.







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