Essay Writing: A Step-By-Step Guide – Conclusions

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of the essay. A lot of writers treat this final paragraph as the icing on a cake or the bow on a present, but I argue that it’s a much more important component than that.

If you remember the ending of our body in the last post, it was deliberately strong, almost too strong. So to make our essay coherent and convincing, we need to use the conclusion to bring it back into balance.

Step #1 –  Refute the previous paragraph’s idea

Do this simply and in a couple of sentences.

You can begin by using one of these phrases:

Ultimately though,…”

“While that may be true,…”

“Above all else though…”

“Most importantly, however…”

Then it gets a little tricky. Your vocabulary is especially important here because you should try to be very concise

To do this, make sure the scope of the essay widens. Don’t refute the previous paragraph with an incredibly specific final point.

Keep a lot of abstract nouns in your back pocket. Be broad. If the examples in your body paragraphs were strong, your reader will know exactly what you mean. Here are some examples of what to write ()and what not write (X):

X – “A lot of actors and actresses have problems with photographers and journalists invading their privacy.”

– “Celebrities have to endure constant media interest.”

—–

X – Famous people who have lots of money can go to fancy resorts and hide from the public if they really want to.

– Celebrities’ wealth is enough to solve the majority of the problems caused by their fame.

—–

X – Globalisation has so many benefits, like a global language, a platform to share ideas, and opportunity for undeveloped countries to get involved in international issues. This can only be a good thing.

(This one is no good because you shouldn’t introduce any new ideas in the conclusion. Your job is to summarise and re-state what you have already explained in the body).

 – Globalisation will undeniably cause changes, but it should be embraced, not feared.

Shorter doesn’t always mean better, but being concise can turn a good conclusion into a great one.

Some more common abstract topics include: ‘culture, fame, identity, wealth, tradition, global trends, population, gender, age, generations’ to name just a few.

Likewise, finding the perfect adjective to describe your opinion or an effect can help you nail your conclusion. Meaningful and precise language can cut significant bulk out of your sentences, so brushing up on this area of your vocabulary will help your conclusion be as effective as possible.

Here’s the final paragraph of the body post, updated to include the refutation in the conclusion:

“However, it shouldn’t be ignored that languages are most certainly being endangered by globalisation. Global languages, especially English, mean that many small nations in particular will need to adapt to survive, pushing their native language into second place. It’s even estimated that as many as half of the world’s 7,000 languages could be extinct by the end of the century. So it can’t be denied that globalisation is affecting rare or traditional languages. Such a decrease would be a real shame, and would have a huge impact on the diversity of our planet, despite the advantages of their involvement in the global community.”

Ultimately though, that doesn’t mean one single global culture will eradicate others. Technology allows us to preserve almost all cultural traits and signatures. A global language which we can all use to communicate globally is an invaluable tool for human kind.”

Here’s another example, here’s the disagreeing paragraph in an essay concerning celebrities’ happiness:

“With that said, however, the media has a tendency to be very intrusive, especially towards famous people. They are followed by paparazzi and reporters when going about their most mundane day-to-day tasks, like eating or shopping. This added pressure forces famous people to put a lot of effort into small things, such as what to wear, to put on make-up, and even to smile.  People who did not choose to be famous, such as athletes or sportspeople, are also affected by this. The psychological effect of this is probably quite significant over time, and when a famous person’s daily life becomes a challenge, it’s understandable that depression, frustration, and unhappiness enter their lives. If there was a price for fame, this would be it.

“Most importantly though, celebrities’ wealth can often cure the problems created by their fame. Whether it’s remote country houses or luxurious resorts, they are always able to escape the public eye, albeit for a little while.

By refuting the previous argument directly and on broader terms, you bring the essay structure back into balance. You remind the reader of your overall opinion, as well as demonstrate how the other side of the argument still can’t stand up to your contrasting arguments.

Step # 2 – Re-state your overall argument directly

Directly tackle the question one more time.

“Directly” means using pointed phrases like, “I believe – I think that – I can’t see how – I don’t agree that.” 

Afterwards, don’t be afraid to add your own personal comment as your very last sentence. A relevant observation is ideal (as you’ll see in the two examples below). If you don’t have anything to add, then don’t worry.

Here are the two full conclusions I would use in the globalisation and celebrity questions respectively:

Ultimately though, that doesn’t mean one single global culture will eradicate others. Technology allows us to preserve almost all cultural traits and signatures. A global language which we can all use to communicate globally is an invaluable tool for human kind. That’s why, I don’t believe that globalisation will cause the demise of other cultures. People may look more similar, listen to the same music or enjoy the same food, but cultures are incredibly complex, they cannot be erased by a few material trends.”

“Most importantly though, celebrities’ wealth can often cure the problems created by their fame. Whether it’s remote country houses or luxurious resorts, they are always able to escape the public eye, albeit for a little while. So, even though their lives may be difficult, I believe that celebrities can live happy lives despite their fame. When they are sitting on their private yacht sipping on a cocktail, I’m sure they don’t think their life is all that bad.”

So there it is! From beginning to end, a step-by-step guide on how to write a basic, balanced discussion essay.

I’ll be making some more guides based on different kinds of questions. I’m also planning on writing down a planning template I’ve used with a lot of my students over the years.

You can start your essay from anywhere – some students like to work backwards and write their conclusion first, while many start with the body and add the sandwich slices at the end. There is no wrong way to write an essay. Just practice! Keep these steps in mind as you write, and I’m sure you’ll be writing up persuasive and memorable essays in under an hour!

Want some questions to practice with? Here you go:

Some people think that there are things individuals can do to help prevent global climate change. Others believe that action by individuals is useless and irrelevant and that it is only governments and large businesses which can make a difference.

To what extent do you agree or disagree? 

 Some people think that professional athletes make good role models for young people, while others believe they don’t.

To what extent do you agree or disagree? 

 Modern lifestyles mean that many parents have little time for their children. Many children suffer because they do not get as much attention from their parents as children did in the past.

To what extent do you agree or disagree? 

 –

In some countries young people have little leisure time and are under a lot of pressure to work hard in their studies.
What do you think are the causes of this?

Some people think women should be allowed to join the army, the navy and the air force just like men.

To what extent do you agree or disagree? 

As always, if you have any questions please leave a comment below.

If there is one aspect of essay writing you would like to see covered in more detail let me know. I’ll also check any writing you wish to submit in the comments as soon as I can. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s