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16.9 Techniques for Writing: Writing Conclusions for Paragraphs and Essays

A conclusion lets your reader know that you've finished developing your ideas, and it allows the reader to look back at what you've said as a whole. A conclusion can:

Conclusions for Paragraphs
When you write a paragraph that stands alone, not part of a larger essay, it is useful to give the paragraph a concluding sentence.


Exercise A: The student paragraph below has lost its conclusion. Write a sentence that would help the reader to look back at the whole scene that the writer has described.

A stream in one of our state parks has always been my sitting spot. I am fascinated when I see the water bubbling over and down the rocks. The water has shaped the rocks, causing deep indentations in certain places, but other parts are perfectly flat. The rocks seem to be lined up in descending order so that the water flows evenly in every direction, making white foam. The sound of the water rushing under the bridge always grabs my attention and sends chills up my spine. On the other side of the bridge is a pond full of fish. Nearby there is a place where people can go swimming or just sit on the bank and relax in the sand. Beyond that is a long bicycle path which leads behind some tall trees, and there are picnic areas along with grills and tables.

— Talitha Moon

Your sentence:

      

Apply this technique to your writing: With a partner, trade the paragraphs you've been writing about a leisure time activity. Write a good conclusion for your partner's paragraph. If there's already a conclusion, write a different one. Then get your own paragraph back from your partner and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different conclusions. End your paragraph with the best conclusion you can find.


Conclusions for Essays
When you write an essay, your whole last paragraph needs to wrap up the essay and hand it to the reader as a finished package.

Exercise B: The student essay below has lost its conclusion. Add a final paragraph that wraps it up.

Relief
Relief is a feeling that comes when a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Whatever burden you felt is magically gone. When you are finally released from whatever problem you had, your inner self is at peace, because you no longer have to worry. Imagine this example: You are carrying a heavy rock up a steep hill. When you finally get to the top of that hill you are happy because you can put your load down. That is what relief feels like.

Childbirth is very complex because of the many emotions you feel at the same time. I think the biggest emotion I felt when Shane was born was relief. When I carried my baby for 9 months, the doctor told me everything was all right through his examinations. I didn't believe him. I worried that Shane might be born with some type of defect or he would be stillborn. I couldn't wait for his birth so I could see for myself. I think I worried so much that I made myself sick. I was always running to the doctor asking, "What does this symptom mean?" When Shane was finally born I counted his tiny fingers and toes, checked to see that he had a tongue, and in fact that he was a boy. Finally the worrying was over and I could see for myself that I had a perfect angel. Now I could enjoy my bundle

— Paula Henriques

Your concluding paragraph:

      

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