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Writing A 5 Paragraph Essay Conclusion

Writing A 5 Paragraph Essay Conclusion


















































Your conclusion is your opportunity to wrap up your essay in a tidy package and bring it home for your reader. It is a good idea to recapitulate what you said in your Thesis Statement in order to suggest to your reader that you have accomplished what you set out to accomplish. It is also important to judge for yourself that you have, in fact, done so. If you find that your thesis statement now sounds hollow or irrelevant — that you haven’t done what you set out to do — then you need either to revise your argument or to redefine your thesis statement. Don’t worry about that; it happens to writers all the time. They have argued themselves into a position that they might not have thought of when they began their writing. Writing, just as much as reading, is a process of self discovery. Do not, in any case, simply restate your thesis statement in your final paragraph. as that would be redundant. Having read your essay, we should understand this main thought with fresh and deeper understanding, and your conclusion wants to reflect what we have learned.

There are some cautions we want to keep in mind as we fashion our final utterance. First, we don’t want to finish with a sentimental flourish that shows we’re trying to do too much. It’s probably enough that our essay on recycling will slow the growth of the landfill in Hartford’s North Meadows. We don’t need to claim that recycling our soda bottles is going to save the world for our children’s children. (That may be true, in fact, but it’s better to claim too little than too much; otherwise, our readers are going to be left with that feeling of «Who’s he/she kidding?») The conclusion should contain a definite, positive statement or call to action, but that statement needs to be based on what we have provided in the essay.

Second, the conclusion is no place to bring up new ideas. If a brilliant idea tries to sneak into our final paragraph, we must pluck it out and let it have its own paragraph earlier in the essay. If it doesn’t fit the structure or argument of the essay, we will leave it out altogether and let it have its own essay later on. The last thing we want in our conclusion is an excuse for our readers’ minds wandering off into some new field. Allowing a peer editor or friend to reread our essay before we hand it in is one way to check this impulse before it ruins our good intentions and hard work.

Never apologize for or otherwise undercut the argument you’ve made or leave your readers with the sense that «this is just little ol’ me talking.» Leave your readers with the sense that they’ve been in the company of someone who knows what he or she is doing. Also, if you promised in the introduction that you were going to cover four points and you covered only two (because you couldn’t find enough information or you took too long with the first two or you got tired), don’t try to cram those last two points into your final paragraph. The «rush job» will be all too apparent. Instead, revise your introduction or take the time to do justice to these other points.

Here is a brief list of things that you might accomplish in your concluding paragraph(s).* There are certainly other things that you can do, and you certainly don’t want to do all these things. They’re only suggestions:

  • include a brief summary of the paper’s main points.
  • ask a provocative question.
  • use a quotation.
  • evoke a vivid image.
  • call for some sort of action.
  • end with a warning.
  • universalize (compare to other situations).
  • suggest results or consequences.

Here is the concluding paragraph of George Orwell’s famous essay, «Politics and the English Language.» If you would like to read the entire essay from which this conclusion is taken (and check out, especially, the beginning), click HERE .

I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don’t know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno. or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin, where it belongs.

*The list of things that you might do in a concluding paragraph is taken from the University of Richmond’s online document, Writing Conclusions (with the gracious permission of UR’s Writer’s Web coordinator, Joe Essid).

The Five-Paragraph

A classic format for compositions is the five-paragraph essay. It is not the only format for writing an essay, of course, but it is a useful model for you to keep in mind, especially as you begin to develop your composition skills. The following material is adapted from a handout prepared by Harry Livermore for his high school English classes at Cook High School in Adel, Georgia. It is used here with his permission.


Introductory Paragraph

See, first, Writing Introductory Paragraphs for different ways of getting your reader involved in your essay. The introductory paragraph should also include the thesis statement, a kind of mini-outline for the paper: it tells the reader what the essay is about. The last sentence of this paragraph must also contain a transitional «hook» which moves the reader to the first paragraph of the body of the paper.


Body — First paragraph:

The first paragraph of the body should contain the strongest argument, most significant example, cleverest illustration, or an obvious beginning point. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the «reverse hook» which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the introductory paragraph. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the second paragraph of the body.

Body — Second paragraph:

The second paragraph of the body should contain the second strongest argument, second most significant example, second cleverest illustration, or an obvious follow up the first paragraph in the body. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the first paragraph of the body. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional hook to tie into the third paragraph of the body.

Body — Third paragraph:

The third paragraph of the body should contain the weakest argument, weakest example, weakest illustration, or an obvious follow up to the second paragraph in the body. The first sentence of this paragraph should include the reverse hook which ties in with the transitional hook at the end of the second paragraph. The topic for this paragraph should be in the first or second sentence. This topic should relate to the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. The last sentence in this paragraph should include a transitional concluding hook that signals the reader that this is the final major point being made in this paper. This hook also leads into the last, or concluding, paragraph.


Concluding paragraph:

This paragraph should include the following:

  1. an allusion to the pattern used in the introductory paragraph,
  2. a restatement of the thesis statement, using some of the original language or language that «echoes» the original language. (The restatement, however, must not be a duplicate thesis statement.)
  3. a summary of the three main points from the body of the paper.
  4. a final statement that gives the reader signals that the discussion has come to an end. (This final statement may be a «call to action» in an persuasive paper.)

A Sample Paper

1 Stephen King, creator of such stories as Carrie and Pet Sematary. stated that the Edgar Allan Poe stories he read as a child gave him the inspiration and instruction he needed to become the writer that he is. 2 Poe, as does Stephen King, fills the reader’s imagination with the images that he wishes the reader to see, hear, and feel. 3 His use of vivid, concrete visual imagery to present both static and dynamic settings and to describe people is part of his technique. 4 Poe’s short story «The Tell-Tale Heart» is a story about a young man who kills an old man who cares for him, dismembers the corpse, then goes mad when he thinks he hears the old man’s heart beating beneath the floor boards under his feet as he sits and discusses the old man’s absence with the police. 5 In «The Tell-Tale Heart,» a careful reader can observe Poe’s skillful manipulation of the senses.

The introductory paragraph includes a paraphrase of something said by a famous person in order to get the reader’s attention. The second sentence leads up to the thesis statement which is the third sentence. The thesis statement (sentence 3) presents topic of the paper to the reader and provides a mini- outline. The topic is Poe’s use of visual imagery. The mini- outline tells the reader that this paper will present Poe’s use of imagery in three places in his writing: (1) description of static setting; (2) description of dynamic setting; and (3) description of a person. The last sentence of the paragraph uses the words «manipulation» and «senses» as transitional hooks.

1 The sense of sight, the primary sense, is particularly susceptible to manipulation. 2 In «The Tell-Tale Heart,» Poe uses the following image to describe a static scene: «His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness. » Poe used the words «black,» «pitch,» and «thick darkness» not only to show the reader the condition of the old man’s room, but also to make the reader feel the darkness.» 3 «Thick» is a word that is not usually associated with color (darkness), yet in using it, Poe stimulates the reader’s sense of feeling as well as his sense of sight.

In the first sentence of the second paragraph (first paragraph of the body) the words «sense» and «manipulation» are used to hook into the end of the introductory paragraph. The first part of the second sentence provides the topic for this paragraph—imagery in a static scene. Then a quotation from «The Tell-Tale Heart» is presented and briefly discussed. The last sentence of this paragraph uses the expressions «sense of feeling» and «sense of sight» as hooks for leading into the third paragraph.

1 Further on in the story, Poe uses a couple of words that cross not only the sense of sight but also the sense of feeling to describe a dynamic scene. 2 The youth in the story has been standing in the open doorway of the old man’s room for a long time, waiting for just the right moment to reveal himself to the old man in order to frighten him. 3 Poe writes: «So I opened it [the lantern opening]—you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily—until, at length, a single dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.» 4 By using the metaphor of the thread of the spider (which we all know is a creepy creature) and the word «shot,» Poe almost makes the reader gasp, as surely did the old man whose one blind eye the young man describes as «the vulture eye.»

The first sentence of the third paragraph (second paragraph of the body) uses the words «sense of sight» and «sense of feeling» to hook back into the previous paragraph. Note that in the second paragraph «feeling» came first, and in this paragraph «sight» comes first. The first sentence also includes the topic for this paragraph—imagery in a dynamic scene. Again, a quotation is taken from the story, and it is briefly discussed. The last sentence uses the words «one blind eye» which was in the quotation. This expression provides the transitional hook for the last paragraph in the body of the paper.

1 The reader does not know much about what the old man in this story looks like except that he has one blind eye. 2 In the second paragraph of «The Tell-Tale Heart,» Poe establishes the young man’s obsession with that blind eye when he writes: «He had the eye of the vulture—a pale blue eye, with a film over it.» 3 This «vulture eye» is evoked over and over again in the story until the reader becomes as obsessed with it as does the young man. 4 His use of the vivid, concrete word «vulture» establishes a specific image in the mind of the reader that is inescapable.

In the first sentence of the fourth paragraph (third paragraph in the body). «one blind eye» is used that hooks into the previous paragraph. This first sentence also lets the reader know that this paragraph will deal with descriptions of people: «. what the old man looks like. » Once again Poe is quoted and discussed. The last sentence uses the word «image» which hooks into the last paragraph. (It is less important that this paragraph has a hook since the last paragraph is going to include a summary of the body of the paper.)

1 «Thick darkness,» «thread of the spider,» and «vulture eye» are three images that Poe used in «The Tell-Tale Heart» to stimulate a reader’s senses. 2 Poe wanted the reader to see and feel real life. 3 He used concrete imagery rather than vague abstract words to describe settings and people. 4 If Edgar Allan Poe was one of Stephen King’s teachers, then readers of King owe a debt of gratitude to that nineteenth-century creator of horror stories.

The first sentence of the concluding paragraph uses the principal words from the quotations from each paragraph of the body of the paper. This summarizes those three paragraph. The second and third sentences provide observations which can also be considered a summary, not only of the content of the paper, but also offers personal opinion which was logically drawn as the result of this study. The last sentence returns to the Edgar Allan Poe-Stephen King relationship which began this paper. This sentence also provides a «wrap-up» and gives the paper a sense of finality.

How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay

By Grace Fleming. Homework & Study Tips Expert

Grace has worked with students for many years as an academic advisor and college enrollment counselor. She currently works as a Senior Advisor at a university in Georgia, where she teaches courses to help students improve academic performance, enhance research skills, and expand information literacy.

Updated August 27, 2016.

As you've probably noticed, essay writing assignments can pop up in any class.

An essay is a literary composition that expresses a certain idea, claim, or concept and backs it up with supporting statements. It will follow a logical pattern, to include an introductory paragraph (make the claim), a body (support), and a conclusion (summary of statements and support).

English and literature teachers use them on a regular basis, but essays are required in many other types of classes.

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Essay exams are also a test tool used commonly in the social sciences. and even in math and science class. Any time you have to write a timed essay, you should begin with a frame based on the parts below.

Of course, essays play a big role in the college application process, as well. In short, there's just no avoiding essays, as long as you're in school!

Luckily, you can learn to craft a great essay if you can follow the standard pattern and write in a clear and organized manner.


The introduction is the first paragraph in your essay, and it should accomplish a few specific goals.

1. Capture the reader's interest.

It's a good idea to start your essay with a really interesting statement. in order to pique the reader's interest.

Avoid starting out with a boring line like this:

"In this essay I will explain why Rosa Parks was an important figure."

Instead, try something with a bit of a surprise factor, like this statement:

"A Michigan museum recently paid $492,000 for an old, dilapidated bus from Montgomery, Alabama."

The second sentence sounds much more interesting, doesn't it? It would encourage most people to keep on reading.

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2. Introduce the topic.

The next few sentences should explain your first statement. and prepare the reader for your thesis statement.

"The old yellow bus was reported to be the very one that sparked the civil rights movement, when a young woman named Rosa Parks. "

3. Make a claim or express your opinion in a thesis sentence.

At the end of your introductory paragraph. you will place a powerful thesis statement. Your thesis sentence should provide your specific assertion and convey a clear point of view.

"In refusing to surrender her seat to a white man, Rosa Parks inspired a courageous freedom movement that lives on, even today."

Your instructor will be looking for the specific elements above when reviewing your introductory paragraph, so be sure to review your first paragraph to make sure it meets these three goals.


The body of the essay will include three paragraphs (if this is a five-paragraph essay ), each limited to one main idea that supports your thesis. You should state your idea, then back it up with two or three sentences of evidence or examples.

Example of a main idea:

"It took incredible courage for an African American woman to make such a bold stance in 1955 Alabama."

Offer evidence to support this statement:

"This act took place in an era when African Americans could be arrested and face severe retribution for committing the most trivial acts of defiance."

Include a few more supporting statements with further evidence, then use transition words to lead to the paragraph that follows. All of your body paragraphs should follow the pattern of statement, supporting ideas, and transition statement.

Words to use as you transition from one paragraph to another:

  • moreover
  • in fact
  • on the whole
  • furthermore
  • as a result
  • simply put
  • for this reason
  • similarly
  • likewise
  • it follows that
  • naturally
  • by comparison
  • surely
  • yet

The fifth paragraph of your five-paragraph essay will be your conclusion.


The final paragraph will summarize your main points and re-assert your main claim (from your thesis sentence). It should point out your main points, but should not repeat specific examples.

Once you complete the first draft of your essay, it's a good idea to re-visit the thesis statement in your first paragraph. Read your essay to see if it flows well.

You might find that the supporting paragraphs are strong, but they don't address the exact focus of your thesis. Simply re-write your thesis sentence to fit your body and summary more exactly.

By doing this, you will ensure that every sentence in your essay supports, proves, or reflects your thesis. Your instructor will be looking for this!

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