Conclusion Paragraphs For Persuasive Essays

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper

The following sections outline the generally accepted structure for an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that these are guidelines and that your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

You may also use the following Purdue OWL resources to help you with your argument paper:

Introduction

The introduction is the broad beginning of the paper that answers three important questions:

  1. What is this?
  2. Why am I reading it?
  3. What do you want me to do?

You should answer these questions by doing the following:

  1. Set the context –provide general information about the main idea, explaining the situation so the reader can make sense of the topic and the claims you make and support
  2. State why the main idea is important –tell the reader why he or she should care and keep reading. Your goal is to create a compelling, clear, and convincing essay people will want to read and act upon
  3. State your thesis/claim –compose a sentence or two stating the position you will support with logos (sound reasoning: induction, deduction), pathos (balanced emotional appeal), and ethos (author credibility).

For exploratory essays, your primary research question would replace your thesis statement so that the audience understands why you began your inquiry. An overview of the types of sources you explored might follow your research question.

If your argument paper is long, you may want to forecast how you will support your thesis by outlining the structure of your paper, the sources you will consider, and the opposition to your position. You can forecast your paper in many different ways depending on the type of paper you are writing. Your forecast could read something like this:

First, I will define key terms for my argument, and then I will provide some background of the situation. Next, I will outline the important positions of the argument and explain why I support one of these positions. Lastly, I will consider opposing positions and discuss why these positions are outdated. I will conclude with some ideas for taking action and possible directions for future research.

When writing a research paper, you may need to use a more formal, less personal tone. Your forecast might read like this:

This paper begins by providing key terms for the argument before providing background of the situation. Next, important positions are outlined and supported. To provide a more thorough explanation of these important positions, opposing positions are discussed. The paper concludes with some ideas for taking action and possible directions for future research.

Ask your instructor about what tone you should use when providing a forecast for your paper.

These are very general examples, but by adding some details on your specific topic, a forecast will effectively outline the structure of your paper so your readers can more easily follow your ideas.

Thesis checklist

Your thesis is more than a general statement about your main idea. It needs to establish a clear position you will support with balanced proofs (logos, pathos, ethos). Use the checklist below to help you create a thesis.

This section is adapted from Writing with a Thesis: A Rhetoric Reader by David Skwire and Sarah Skwire:

Make sure you avoid the following when creating your thesis:

  • A thesis is not a title: Homes and schools (title) vs. Parents ought to participate more in the education of their children (good thesis).
  • A thesis is not an announcement of the subject: My subject is the incompetence of the Supreme Court vs. The Supreme Court made a mistake when it ruled in favor of George W. Bush in the 2000 election.
  • A thesis is not a statement of absolute fact: Jane Austen is the author of Pride and Prejudice.
  • A thesis is not the whole essay: A thesis is your main idea/claim/refutation/problem-solution expressed in a single sentence or a combination of sentences.
  • Please note that according to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition, "A thesis statement is a single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view" (Gibaldi 42). However, if your paper is more complex and requires a thesis statement, your thesis may require a combination of sentences.

Make sure you follow these guidelines when creating your thesis:

  • A good thesis is unified:
    • NOT: Detective stories are not a high form of literature, but people have always been fascinated by them, and many fine writers have experimented with them

(floppy). vs.

  •  
    • BETTER: Detective stories appeal to the basic human desire for thrills (concise).

  • A good thesis is specific:
    • NOT: James Joyce’s Ulysses is very good. vs.

    • BETTER: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious.

  • Try to be as specific as possible (without providing too much detail) when creating your thesis:
    • NOT: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious. vs.

    • BETTER: James Joyce’s Ulysses helped create a new way for writers to deal with the unconscious by utilizing the findings of Freudian psychology and introducing the techniques of literary stream-of-consciousness.

Quick Checklist:

_____ The thesis/claim follows the guidelines outlined above

_____ The thesis/claim matches the requirements and goals of the assignment

_____ The thesis/claim is clear and easily recognizable

_____ The thesis/claim seems supportable by good reasoning/data, emotional appeal

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs: Moving from general to specific information

Your paper should be organized in a manner that moves from general to specific information. Every time you begin a new subject, think of an inverted pyramid - The broadest range of information sits at the top, and as the paragraph or paper progresses, the author becomes more and more focused on the argument ending with specific, detailed evidence supporting a claim. Lastly, the author explains how and why the information she has just provided connects to and supports her thesis (a brief wrap-up or warrant).

Image Caption: Moving from General to Specific Information

The four elements of a good paragraph (TTEB)

A good paragraph should contain at least the following four elements: Transition, Topic sentence, specific Evidence and analysis, and a Brief wrap-up sentence (also known as a warrant) –TTEB!

  1. A Transition sentence leading in from a previous paragraph to assure smooth reading. This acts as a hand-off from one idea to the next.
  2. A Topic sentence that tells the reader what you will be discussing in the paragraph.
  3. Specific Evidence and analysis that supports one of your claims and that provides a deeper level of detail than your topic sentence.
  4. A Brief wrap-up sentence that tells the reader how and why this information supports the paper’s thesis. The brief wrap-up is also known as the warrant. The warrant is important to your argument because it connects your reasoning and support to your thesis, and it shows that the information in the paragraph is related to your thesis and helps defend it.

Supporting evidence (induction and deduction)

Induction

Induction is the type of reasoning that moves from specific facts to a general conclusion. When you use induction in your paper, you will state your thesis (which is actually the conclusion you have come to after looking at all the facts) and then support your thesis with the facts. The following is an example of induction taken from Dorothy U. Seyler’s Understanding Argument:

Facts:

There is the dead body of Smith. Smith was shot in his bedroom between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., according to the coroner. Smith was shot with a .32 caliber pistol. The pistol left in the bedroom contains Jones’s fingerprints. Jones was seen, by a neighbor, entering the Smith home at around 11:00 p.m. the night of Smith’s death. A coworker heard Smith and Jones arguing in Smith’s office the morning of the day Smith died.

Conclusion: Jones killed Smith.

Here, then, is the example in bullet form:

  • Conclusion: Jones killed Smith
  • Support: Smith was shot by Jones’ gun, Jones was seen entering the scene of the crime, Jones and Smith argued earlier in the day Smith died.
  • Assumption: The facts are representative, not isolated incidents, and thus reveal a trend, justifying the conclusion drawn.
Deduction

When you use deduction in an argument, you begin with general premises and move to a specific conclusion. There is a precise pattern you must use when you reason deductively. This pattern is called syllogistic reasoning (the syllogism). Syllogistic reasoning (deduction) is organized in three steps:

  1. Major premise
  2. Minor premise
  3. Conclusion

In order for the syllogism (deduction) to work, you must accept that the relationship of the two premises lead, logically, to the conclusion. Here are two examples of deduction or syllogistic reasoning:

Socrates

  1. Major premise: All men are mortal.
  2. Minor premise: Socrates is a man.
  3. Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

Lincoln

  1. Major premise: People who perform with courage and clear purpose in a crisis are great leaders.
  2. Minor premise: Lincoln was a person who performed with courage and a clear purpose in a crisis.
  3. Conclusion: Lincoln was a great leader.

So in order for deduction to work in the example involving Socrates, you must agree that (1) all men are mortal (they all die); and (2) Socrates is a man. If you disagree with either of these premises, the conclusion is invalid. The example using Socrates isn’t so difficult to validate. But when you move into more murky water (when you use terms such as courage, clear purpose, and great), the connections get tenuous.

For example, some historians might argue that Lincoln didn’t really shine until a few years into the Civil War, after many Union losses to Southern leaders such as Robert E. Lee.

The following is a clear example of deduction gone awry:

  1. Major premise: All dogs make good pets.
  2. Minor premise: Doogle is a dog.
  3. Conclusion: Doogle will make a good pet.

If you don’t agree that all dogs make good pets, then the conclusion that Doogle will make a good pet is invalid.

Enthymemes

When a premise in a syllogism is missing, the syllogism becomes an enthymeme. Enthymemes can be very effective in argument, but they can also be unethical and lead to invalid conclusions. Authors often use enthymemes to persuade audiences. The following is an example of an enthymeme:

If you have a plasma TV, you are not poor.

The first part of the enthymeme (If you have a plasma TV) is the stated premise. The second part of the statement (you are not poor) is the conclusion. Therefore, the unstated premise is “Only rich people have plasma TVs.” The enthymeme above leads us to an invalid conclusion (people who own plasma TVs are not poor) because there are plenty of people who own plasma TVs who are poor. Let’s look at this enthymeme in a syllogistic structure:

  • Major premise: People who own plasma TVs are rich (unstated above).
  • Minor premise: You own a plasma TV.
  • Conclusion: You are not poor.

To help you understand how induction and deduction can work together to form a solid argument, you may want to look at the United States Declaration of Independence. The first section of the Declaration contains a series of syllogisms, while the middle section is an inductive list of examples. The final section brings the first and second sections together in a compelling conclusion.

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Rebuttal Sections

In order to present a fair and convincing message, you may need to anticipate, research, and outline some of the common positions (arguments) that dispute your thesis. If the situation (purpose) calls for you to do this, you will present and then refute these other positions in the rebuttal section of your essay.

It is important to consider other positions because in most cases, your primary audience will be fence-sitters. Fence-sitters are people who have not decided which side of the argument to support.

People who are on your side of the argument will not need a lot of information to align with your position. People who are completely against your argument—perhaps for ethical or religious reasons—will probably never align with your position no matter how much information you provide. Therefore, the audience you should consider most important are those people who haven't decided which side of the argument they will support—the fence-sitters.

In many cases, these fence-sitters have not decided which side to align with because they see value in both positions. Therefore, to not consider opposing positions to your own in a fair manner may alienate fence-sitters when they see that you are not addressing their concerns or discussion opposing positions at all.

Organizing your rebuttal section

Following the TTEB method outlined in the Body Paragraph section, forecast all the information that will follow in the rebuttal section and then move point by point through the other positions addressing each one as you go. The outline below, adapted from Seyler's Understanding Argument, is an example of a rebuttal section from a thesis essay.

When you rebut or refute an opposing position, use the following three-part organization:

The opponent’s argument: Usually, you should not assume that your reader has read or remembered the argument you are refuting. Thus, at the beginning of your paragraph, you need to state, accurately and fairly, the main points of the argument you will refute.

Your position: Next, make clear the nature of your disagreement with the argument or position you are refuting. Your position might assert, for example, that a writer has not proved his assertion because he has provided evidence that is outdated, or that the argument is filled with fallacies.

Your refutation: The specifics of your counterargument will depend upon the nature of your disagreement. If you challenge the writer’s evidence, then you must present the more recent evidence. If you challenge assumptions, then you must explain why they do not hold up. If your position is that the piece is filled with fallacies, then you must present and explain each fallacy.

Contributors: Allen Brizee.
Summary:

This resource outlines the generally accepted structure for introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions in an academic argument paper. Keep in mind that this resource contains guidelines and not strict rules about organization. Your structure needs to be flexible enough to meet the requirements of your purpose and audience.

Conclusions

Conclusions wrap up what you have been discussing in your paper. After moving from general to specific information in the introduction and body paragraphs, your conclusion should begin pulling back into more general information that restates the main points of your argument. Conclusions may also call for action or overview future possible research. The following outline may help you conclude your paper:

In a general way,

  • Restate your topic and why it is important,
  • Restate your thesis/claim,
  • Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position,
  • Call for action or overview future research possibilities.

Remember that once you accomplish these tasks, unless otherwise directed by your instructor, you are finished. Done. Complete. Don't try to bring in new points or end with a whiz bang(!) conclusion or try to solve world hunger in the final sentence of your conclusion. Simplicity is best for a clear, convincing message.

The preacher's maxim is one of the most effective formulas to follow for argument papers:

  1. Tell what you're going to tell them (introduction).

  2. Tell them (body).

  3. Tell them what you told them (conclusion).

Have you ever heard that different people learn in different ways? Well, it’s true.

And while some people may be able to learn just by reading the theories on how to do something, you learn differently—you need actual examples.

Just like a protester, politician, or superhero, I’m here to lead by example. I’ve put together a list of essay conclusion examples that covers a range of topics and essay formats to serve as a stepping stone for your own writing.

Why Do You Need a Strong Conclusion?

Before I get into the essay conclusion examples, you should know why writing a strong conclusion is so important. Your conclusion isn’t just a summary of what you’ve already written.

True, it’s a little bit about summarizing, but it should take your essay one step further. Your conclusion should answer any unresolved questions and end your essay with a bang!

In short, an awesome essay conclusion is super important because it rounds out your essay and makes it feel complete.

Now on to the good stuff…

Analytical Essay Conclusion Examples

Topic #1: Analyze the theme of compassion for one character in the Hunger Games series.

The obvious choices for compassion in the Hunger Games may be Katniss or Peeta, but the character who personifies compassion best was Prim. Throughout the series, her compassion is seen when she keeps secrets from her mother for Katniss, when she heals Gale after he gets whipped, and through the last act of her life as she rushes to save children in the Capitol. She truly lives Albert Schweitzer’s words, “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”

Topic #2: What caused the Civil War?

The importance of each cause of the American Civil War can be debated, but what is fact is that there were several factors that led the South to secede. Slavery, states’ rights, and the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency—even though no state in the South voted for him—all contributed to the war. While it has been nearly 150 years since the Civil War ended, some of the leftover divide between North and South can still be seen in modern America.

Topic #3: Analyze Facebook’s influence on America’s youth.

Though social media allows young users to connect with people across the world and get instantaneous news about the world around them, it also has come with many complications. From access to inaccurate information to the rise of cyberbullying, the bad can sometimes outweigh the good among younger users. With 73% of young Americans ages 12-17 years old using Facebook, it may be time to devise better rules for promoting responsible use.

Topic #4: Analyze the theme of disguise in The Taming of the Shrew.

The theme of disguise in The Taming of the Shrew is evident from the very beginning. The play within a play lets the reader know that every character is an actor. The main characters—Kate, Bianca, and Petruchio—all disguise their true identities and intentions for the same reason: to get what they want.

(Learn how to write an analytical essay outline.)

Expository Essay Conclusion Examples

Topic #5: Explain how to write an essay conclusion.

Essay conclusions are pretty simple once you know the framework. It all boils down to three main parts: a transition from the last body paragraph, a summary of the thesis statement and main points of the essay, and a closing statement that wraps everything up. If all students knew this simple formula, maybe essay writing would be easier for everyone.

Want extra guidance with the conclusion framework? Read How to Write a Killer Essay Conclusion.

Topic #6: What is the scientific method?

The scientific method is common sense. First, a person must have a research question he or she wants answered and a little background knowledge on the subject. Then the person forms a hypothesis, or what he or she thinks the answer to the research question is, which the person tests with an experiment. Finally, the person should analyze the data and draw a conclusion. This method can be used both in and out of the scientific realm, testing everything from history to social issues.

Topic #7: What are the causes of homelessness?

Passing by a homeless person is not uncommon, especially in urban settings. Homelessness can be caused by many factors, including job loss, lack of family support, and the diminishing availability of affordable housing. Although it is easy for some to think that homelessness is caused by mental problems or general laziness, there are other factors to consider. Only when the whole scope of the problem is known can society begin to come up with a comprehensive solution.

Topic #8: What is the main cause of global warming?

Most scientists agree that global warming is due to the rapid rise of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. While some may argue that factory farms are the main cause of global warming and others may say it is modern society’s transportation methods, the main cause is clear: mankind.

(Learn more about writing expository essays.)

Narrative Essay Conclusion Examples

Topic #9: Write about what it would be like to be put into the pages of Romeo and Juliet.

Being catapulted into the pages of Romeo and Juliet would definitely come with some culture shock. Men would be carrying swords and fighting each other in the street. Girls would be getting married at 13 years old. Had I the knowledge of what would become of the star-crossed lovers, I would have warned Romeo that Juliet’s death was a hoax and to wait until she woke up. This, of course, would make the play quite different, but I would feel that it was my duty after having spent so much time with the characters.

Topic #10: A time machine has taken you back to meet your favorite author (Edgar Allan Poe in this case). Write about that meeting.

As Edgar and I were discussing the common themes and dark imagery of his works, the waiter interrupted us. I reached for the wine decanter, poured myself a glass, and asked if he would like some.

“No thanks,” he said, laughing grimly. “After all, it might be poisoned.”

Topic #11: Tell about your proudest moment.

Standing up for my little brother made me feel like the character who everyone likes in those after-school sitcoms. I was able to confront the kid who was bullying my little brother without using threats or physical force. In the end, encouraging the two to have an open dialogue brought them closer, and while they may never be best friends, at least they can respect each other.

Topic #12: Write about an event that made you who you are today.

My abuse did not and does not define me, but I would not be the same person had I not gone through it. It took a while and there were setbacks, but I’m a stronger, more compassionate person because of the traumatic events that happened. I hope others never have to go through the same thing I did, but if they do, I hope they can learn from my example and find the help they need to change their situation for the better.

(Learn more about writing narrative essays.)

Persuasive Essay Conclusion Examples

Topic #13: Should Hermione have ended up with Harry instead of Ron in the Harry Potter series?

Harry may be the main character of the Harry Potter series and J.K. Rowling may have stated recently that even she thinks Hermione and Harry should have ended up together, but the characters are much too similar. They are both natural leaders, which would create a lot of relationship tension. Ron, on the other hand, is the Type B to balance Hermione’s Type A personality. Since Harry ended up with Ron’s sister, Ginny, all three main characters are married into the same family. That certainly would make holiday get-togethers much more entertaining.

Topic #14: Should college education be free?

The amount of student loan debt is an indication that something is definitely wrong with the system. Although universities need an income to survive, getting a college education should still come at no direct cost to the student. Free education would allow for a more educated nation as a whole, it would leave some students with more time to work more on their studies than their jobs, and it could encourage universities to get more creative. If more universities embraced the Pay It Forward model, the United States might become one of the most educated countries in the world.

Topic #15: What is the most important thing high school students should be learning but aren’t?

There are many areas where public high school education could improve, but the most important is financial planning. While some may argue for better nutrition or fitness programs, that information is easily available online and even in commercials—and should actually be taught starting in elementary school. Stronger financial planning curricula would teach high schoolers how to establish credit, how to save for retirement, and how to budget. All of these are important for life in the real world but can be filled with confusing jargon and advertising schemes. With Americans having more than $11 trillion in debt, it is time the younger generation be taught how not to be another statistic.

Topic #16: Should kids get participation trophies?

Many Baby Boomers believe that participation trophies serve as a symbol of millennials’ sense of entitlement. In reality, the participation trophy does not diminish any sense of competition or drive for improvement. When there are performance-based awards in addition to participation awards, it mirrors the real world where average-performing employees still get paid and well-performing people get bonuses, raises, and promotions.

(Learn more about writing persuasive essays.)

Argumentative Essay Conclusion Examples

Topic #17: Should nuclear weapons be banned in all countries?

Because of the political tensions between different countries, it is not likely that a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons would be followed by every world leader. It is important that other countries be able to protect themselves from potential attacks with equally strong weapons. However, more limitations on testing and launch authorizations should be enforced to ensure hot-headed leaders do not use or even advertise these dangerous weapons simply as a show of force.

Topic #18: Are pre-employment drug tests an invasion of privacy?

Although companies need to hire capable, dependable employees, they should not be able to dictate what their employees do in the comfort of their own homes. There are better ways of determining whether someone is right for a position, including education, past employment, personal and professional references, and trial periods.

Topic #19: Should prisoners have the right to vote?

Although some people fear that granting prisoners the right to vote may lead to more relaxed laws surrounding specific crimes, prisoners are part of the American population. A truly democratic process includes everyone’s voices, even those who have made mistakes.

Topic #20: Should parents be allowed to spank their children?

Spanking has become an outdated and lazy way of punishing children. It teaches them that meeting other people’s bad behavior with violence is acceptable. If children are old enough to understand why they are being spanked, they are old enough to think about their bad behavior logically and understand why it was wrong.

(Learn more about writing argumentative essays.)

A Final Word on Final Paragraphs

As you probably noticed given the variety of essay conclusion examples above, there are a lot of ways to end an essay. Generally, there will be a summary, but narrative essays might carry an exception.

These types of essays allow you to be more creative with your conclusion. You should still try to end the essay with a sense of closure even if, as in the case of Topic #8, this means ending on a somewhat ominous note.

No matter how you learn, it’s pretty helpful to have practical examples. And now that you do, you can get to finishing your own essay.

Once your essay is drafted, have one of Kibin’s talented editors take a look at it for you.

Good luck!

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

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