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Learn how to end an essay

Many students have difficulties with coming up with a satisfactory ending for an essay, although there is nothing that is difficult about it. First of all, you need to consider your opening paragraph. What did you write? You should think carefully about how to expand upon the idea you had and see if you can take it further in your conclusion.

People who have difficulties in knowing how to end an essay often have similar problems with beginning an essay, so let’s start there. You are usually given a title for your essay, and it is important that you use words and phrases from the title in your opening sentence(s). All you have to do is change the word order a little, and you have your opening sentence(s).

When you come to write the conclusion of an essay, go back to your introduction and the essay title and once again use the words or phrases contained in them.


In many writing courses, tutors give students formulaic expressions to conclude an essay, such as: -

and so on. These are overused endings and are not necessary. It is obvious that the last paragraph marks the end of an essay, so it needs no preamble.

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You need to think very carefully about how to end an essay because this will leave an impression on the marker, or your readers. If your conclusion is lame, abrupt or not relevant to the main body of the essay, you cannot expect to get good grades for it. A good ending is essential.

The ending is your last opportunity to persuade a reader that your point of view is the correct one, or that you are an authority on the topic.

Your ending should be linked to the first paragraph in some way and leave the reader to ponder the possibilities you have suggested or implied throughout the essay. Your ending should have a sense of completeness, but it should not kill off the possibility of further discussion of the topic.

  • Use a word or phrase that you used in the introduction and link your ending to it.
  • Use single syllable words in your final sentence, as simple language can usually create a sense of the dramatic.
  • Conclude with a quote from one of the sources you used when writing your essay, and ensure it is one that emphasises the point(s) that you are attempting to make.
  • Set your discussion in a broad context.
  • You could also end your essay by redefining one or more key terms contained in your main argument.
  • Consider the implications of your argument. What is implied, suggested or what does it involve?

So above you have some ideas for how to end an essay, so let’s briefly take a look at how NOT to end one.

  1. Don’t just summarise the whole essay in your concluding paragraph. If your essay is a long one, then it may be useful to summarise your key points and arguments, however. If your essay is quite short (say less than 8 to 10 pages, then this won’t be necessary).
  2. As mentioned above avoid stating the obvious by writing something like ‘In conclusion.’ This will serve to irritate your readers and perhaps alienate them. Of course, you should avoid doing that at all costs.
  3. If you have some doubts about what you have written, perhaps because you know your subject so well that you find it difficult to condense your knowledge into ten pages or so, try hard to suppress them. Remember that you are an authority on the topic, so don’t be apologetic about what you have written.
  4. Don’t introduce new ideas in your concluding paragraph.

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