Concluding Paragraphs

The conclusion signals the end of your paper. It summarizes the points in the paper and neatly ties up any loose ends. The form of a conclusion varies with the purpose, the assignment, and the professor.

These strategies usually work:

In longer papers, refer to your introduction and tie your ideas together. Doing this may help you determine whether you stayed focused throughout.

1. Summarize your main ideas (this works for longer papers); you may use new word choices.

2. Resolve problems stated in your introduction. Do not leave loose ends in the conclusion.  

Avoid these strategies: 

1. Do not write “In conclusion” or “This paper was about…” when writing in most humanities courses. In scientific writing, a heading labeled “Conclusion” may be required. If you are uncertain, consult your assignment description and your professor.

2. Do not restate your main points or your thesis statement in short papers; this is often monotonous and can be construed as padding, filling space with needless words.

3. Do not explain what they just read to your readers. “In this essay, I explained…” talks down to readers, and is not an effective method of concluding a paper.

4. Do not mention new ideas or information in your conclusion. Introducing new ideas introduces a new topic, making the conclusion a lead paragraph for another idea. Your conclusion no longer works as a conclusion; you have more to write!

Writer’s tip: Always check with your professor. Your goal in academic writing is to score points; your professor is the official scorekeeper.