Print this out, read, and highlight important information.

Typesof Conclusions


Essayconclusions are, as a rule, no more than one paragraph in length. To have

alengthier conclusion is to introduce a new topic or bring in too muchinformation to

neatlywrap up the essay. Many students areunder the impression that the conclusion should be a summary of the essay,touching on all the points as a reminder to the reader. While this may be truein some disciplines (especially, within the social sciences), it is not themost creative or interesting way to conclude an essay for your English class.Instead, consider one of the following possibilities as you write your concluding paragraph.


TheEmbedded Conclusion

In some cases, especially with anarrative essay that tells a personal story in

chronological order, the conclusioncan be the last paragraph of the body. For instance,

if you are telling the story of howyou learned the English language, and the last

paragraph brings us to your current state of increased confidence mixed withlingering cautiousness, then that last paragraph gives us a solid place to part company.




I amnow studying English in an ESL class at Cabrillo College. I know this is not

thelast leg of my journey, for I have a lot more to learn about American idiomsand

phrasing.However, even as I struggle, I feel more confidence than ever before. I am so

fargetting “A” grades on all my written assignments. Still, I will always feelcautious, like

I amwalking on egg shells, as I try to use a language that is so different from theone I

wasborn into in a land faraway.


TheRetrospective Conclusion

For a narrative essay, or for anyessay that uses chronology or traces an historic

movement, you may want to consider theretrospective conclusion. This concluding

paragraph uses “hindsight” to consider what came before with new insight gainedfrom experience.




Tenyears ago, I would never have believed that I would be living in the United

Statesand using English to buy groceries and make new friends. I would have fainted

at thethought of writing professional documents in the English language. Nonetheless,

here Iam, writing an English essay in my first college English class and expecting to

receivean “A.” Time will tell how far my English studies will take me.


TheReflective Conclusion

The reflective conclusion is similarto the retrospective kind, but it allows a

broader train of thought as one considers the various themes, lessons, orinsights that have emerged from the essay writing experience.





In choosingto approach life’s challenges from a passive position, many teens

seetheir bad choices as a result of their circumstances. Whether it’s an unwanted

pregnancy,a drug addiction, or an abusive relationship, girls especially can make

excusesso that they don’t have to change. I wish I could tell them that they don’thave

to beimprisoned by their past choices—it’s never too late to take charge of your



TheProjective Conclusion

This type of conclusion worksespecially well for research papers but can be

used for most expository essays andsome narrative ones as well. It involvesprojecting a future outcome of the circumstances you describe. It mayproject the negative resultsof a social issue if it remains unresolved or athreat to humanity. In other contexts, thisconclusion can state a need for further research in an area to enhance our

understanding, or it could predict aninteresting, unexpected outcome based on current





Acrisis continues to brew in our school systems where it is no longer the caseof

justbullies turning to serial violence. As we saw in the Columbine shootings, even

victimsof chronic bullying, in an attempt to fight back and regain some power ordignity,

aretaking up arms and gunning down their classmates. Case after case shows us that

criminalviolence amongst school-aged children in America is not limited to just malesor

pinnedto any one ethnicity or socioeconomic class. It is a crisis of the generationgap

increasedby rapidly changing technology and a lack of real communication. Unless we

starttalking to each other, more of our youth will die, and children will be saferon the

streetsthan they are in the schoolyard.



Theabove four types of conclusions are not meant to limit you but to give you

guidanceas you apply your own unique stamp of creativity to your essay. The most importantfactor in writing your conclusion is that you give yourself enough time to experimentwith a few possibilities. Don’t deny yourself the creative thrill of that finalflourish!