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    Information Power/Writing Effective Conclusions*

One of the first things a reader remembers after having read a piece of writing is the last words the writer uses. For that reason, a writer should understand and take advantage of the power of an effective conclusion. Effective conclusions are particularly important in persuasive essays since they are the last chance the writer has to convince the reader. The following is a collection of suggestions for writing effective conclusions.

1. Use a summary statement rather than phrases like the following: "In summary...," "To conclude...," "To summarize...," or "In closing...." These are too obvious and vague to be effective. Use a transitional phrase which summarizes a point in your essay instead. A sample summary statement is as follows: "As we have seen, poverty is a known contributor to crime; therefore, it should not be discounted when considering ways to prevent crime."

2. Use a quotation, such as "As a man thinks, so is he," when your paper has just explained how negative thinking has created problems for someone.

3. Refer to the story or character used in the introduction, such as "So don't be like Sally, be informed."

4. Use a cleverly crafted generalization, such as "Poverty is not a great issue, if everyone is poor."

5. Express your hopes as you look to the future. "We can only hope that people in our society will become less self-centered, and become more involved in helping others." Or "We have some poverty programs, which are of great value, but in ten years the problem will still remain, unless we change our attitudes."

In addition to the aforementioned suggestions, persuasive essays should include one of the following:

6. Issue a call for action, such as "Now that we have seen how poverty contributes to crime, give the local representatives a call to learn how to help combat poverty."

7. Use a question and a call for action together. Example: "Why do we continue to ignore the poverty situation in America? One can help, so get involved."                                                                                                

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* Written by Maple Woods Community College Writing Center, Kansas City MO

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