Writing a proper conclusion paragraph to an essay is something you've probably spent significant time learning about, whether you're in grade school or college. It's especially important to learn how to write a conclusion with strong transitions as well as having good transitions between body paragraphs. This skill ensures that the essay will flow nicely, ultimately forming a cohesive paper.
Though writing strong transitions for a concluding paragraph can be a challenge for both beginner writers and even seasoned writers, it just takes some constructive feedback to make sure you are on the right track.
The Importance of a Conclusion
When writing a paper, whether it is a persuasive essay, a research paper, a news article or even a portfolio essay, there is a specific format that all writers must follow. Though there is never a wrong way to write an essay, there is a standard that is accepted worldwide and across different languages. Essays must be organized, well composed, include key points, and most of all, a strong conclusion.
While it is always important to begin your essay with a strong and engaging introduction, many writers tend to neglect the ending of their work. After all, writing is undoubtedly an exhausting process. However, it is necessary to keep the reader engaged until the very last sentence.
If your reader somehow is not convinced after reading your paper, the conclusion is the final chance for persuasion.
Though a conclusion can be written differently depending on the essay type, its main purpose is to bring the key ideas of the text to the surface. This is done by rephrasing the thesis as well as reiterating information discussed in the body paragraphs.
The most important aspect of a conclusion paragraph is to not introduce new topics to the reader. Mention of a new idea at the end of a paper reveals that it should have received its own paragraph earlier on. This also may distract from the thesis, ultimately meaning that new information does not belong in the conclusion.
Why Transitions Are Necessary
Most people write or speak in transitional phrases without even realizing that they are doing it. For example, using words and phrases such as "then," "after that" and "anyway" in basic conversations. Without transitions, there is a lack of word flow, making it challenging for the reader or listener to grasp what you are attempting to say.
Due to the fact that transitions often come easier while speaking, writers need to be more aware of including transitions while constructing their essay. Without a transition word or a transitional phrase, the reader may not understand why you are suddenly going from one idea to the next. Transitions help guide readers through the piece with ease as they read it in their head or out loud. Think of transitions as the glue that holds the different parts of your essay together.
10 Ideas for Concluding Transitions
If you want to get away from the overused conclusion statements, then there are several options to choose from. Of course, you also have to be mindful of how much you use those in your paper as well. If your teachers notice that you are using the same transitions repeatedly, it is likely they will advise you to use something else. Thankfully, there are tons of "In conclusion" replacements you can resort to instead:
- By and large
- Generally speaking
- In any event
- All in all
- Given these points
- In short
- All things considered
- In essence
Writing Strong Transitions Between Paragraphs
Before writing the conclusion, body paragraphs will be included that must be written cohesively. This means that the information is written in a logical order, making the essay flow nicely. You know how long a paragraph should be, how it should start and what sentences to put inside. But one thing that several college students struggle with is how to implement transitions between paragraphs. If your professor tells you that your writing is "too abrupt" or asks you "how do these things relate?" then it probably means you neglected the use of strong transitions between paragraphs.
The transitions you use between two paragraphs will be different than the transitions you use in your conclusion. Transitions can occur at the end of the previous paragraph, the beginning of the next paragraph or both and include words or phrases such as:
- For example
- In addition to or additionally
- Even though
- Despite this
- As mentioned before
- That being said
- Due to this
The more you practice the incorporation of transitions, the more you will naturally have the ability to select which phrases work. Younger students may use other types of transitions between paragraphs, which are to demonstrate their basic understanding of sequencing events:
Other Times to Use Transitions
In addition to using transitions between paragraphs and as part of your conclusion paragraph, you will also be required to use transitions in other parts of your writing. This includes using transitions within the actual paragraphs themselves, as well as between sections if you are writing a much longer, in-depth piece.
When incorporating transitions within a paragraph, you may use short words or phrases to bring together sentences. This helps readers expect what's to come before they read the next sentence, even if that happens quickly. Sometimes, you may not even notice this transition as it is subtle, but present.
Likewise, you will also need to use transitions between sections in a larger piece of writing. These will need to be more explicit because you are coming off a whole other section that may not be as easily connected to the next one. Think of it as a recap of the previous season of a television series, that catches you up on all the events you may have forgotten about. You do this before pressing play on the next season in the series. The two sections must be connected in some way, and a transition helps achieve that.
Two sections must be connected in some way, and a transition helps achieve that.
5 Overused Conclusion Sentences
Oftentimes, students tend to rely on certain conclusion sentences and transitions more so than others. Most teachers would advise that if they had a dime for every time a student used the transition "In conclusion" to start their concluding paragraph, that they'd be rich. But this is not the student's fault. However, students should try to stay away from the overused conclusion sentences as much as possible:
- In conclusion
- As you can see
- In summary
- In closing
How to Start a Conclusion Paragraph
Once you've decided on a concluding transition that has not been overused, you will have to start to think of your beginning conclusion sentence.
- Sometimes, the transition phrase you have chosen is enough to have a solid start to your conclusion, but other times, you may need to also take a few words or a sentence to transition between the most recent paragraph and the conclusion.
- You may also need to write two concluding paragraphs instead of just one, which will, of course, involve using more than one transition sentence starter.
How to Write Your Conclusion
After beginning your conclusion paragraph, it's time to write the rest of the conclusion. This can be tricky, but good conclusions come after practice, persistence and careful use of words and vocabulary.
Your conclusion is your last opportunity to tell the reader why you feel the way you do about whatever you're talking about, whether it's an opinion or closing statement based on factual research. Here, you should reiterate the main points of your paper without getting too repetitive, and if applicable, leave the reader with something to think about.
You can always ask a friend to read over your conclusion to see if you've succeeded.
You can always ask a friend to read over your conclusion to see if you've succeeded.
How to Write a Concluding Sentence
The only part of your essay with the most potential to influence the reader more so than the introduction of your paper, is the closing sentence of your paper.
If you're wondering whether or not you can end a conclusion with a question, the answer is, it depends. If you're writing a research paper that discusses some controversial topics, then it's absolutely a great idea to end your conclusion with a question. This can be a rhetorical question or it can be directed straight to the reader, but either way, it should be somewhat open-ended and ultimately be a conversation starter.
At the same time, though, a persuasive essay is meant to convince the reader of your opinion, so leaving them with a question instead of a strong, believable statement, could be a mistake. You'll really need to read over your paper several times to make sure your conclusion and your concluding sentence makes sense with the rest of the piece.
Things to Consider
If you are still wondering, "How can I end my essay without saying, 'in conclusion'?" this is either because the other transition words and phrases do not make sense to you, or you simply cannot think of anything else to say.
Ultimately, if you can include a variety within your transition words and phrases, that will build a strong paper. However, if you are having a hard time with it, just do what you feel comfortable with. In the meantime, ask your teacher or professor if they have any additional advice that may be useful for you, or consult the writing resources at your school for support.
Writing a strong conclusion paragraph with good transitions is the key to a solid essay. Hopefully these tips will help you learn how to write a good conclusion paragraph.
Hana LaRock is a freelance content writer from New York, currently living in Mexico. She has spent the last 5 years traveling the world and living abroad and has lived in South Korea and Israel. Before becoming a writer, Hana worked as a teacher for several years in the U.S. and around the world. She has her teaching certification in Elementary Education and Special Education, as well as a TESOL certification. Hana spent a semester studying abroad at Tel Aviv University during her undergraduate years at the University of Hartford. She hopes to use her experience to help inform others. Please visit her website, www.hanalarockwriting.com, to learn more.