The argumentative essay is like a position paper. In it, you build a position based on fact, supported by evidence, and argued rationally and logically toward a clear and cohesive endpoint. And since you’re trying to make an effective argument, the end of your essay is often the most important part. How to end the argumentative essay? The best way is to save your best punch for last. Conclude your paper with a wallop that will knock the socks off your reader and leave him convinced that there is just no other way to look at the issue you’re presenting. Consider your ending the one-two combination that lays your reader out flat.
In order to end the argumentative essay effectively, you have to start effectively. That means you have to identify the purpose of your essay—i.e., state your thesis. Why? Your conclusion will link back to your thesis in a meaningful why: you’ll re-state it in concise terms and provide a grander perspective by bolstering that thesis with a blow-by-blow recap of all the hits you make in your essay.
You also need to know the strongest points of your argument and the weakest points so that you can arrange them effectively (both in your essay proper and in your conclusion). Here’s a tip: Start your essay in reverse order in terms of the strength of your argument: in other words, begin with your weakest argument first and save the best argument for last.
That may be counter-intuitive since you want to give your reader a good reason right off the bat. So an alternate approach could be to arrange your arguments this way: moderately effective argument first, weakest argument second, greatest argument third. This way you’re able to give your reader something good at the beginning and something great at the end.
Once you’ve delivered all three of your arguments, you’ll want to make your conclusion. These are like the concluding remarks the boxer gives once the match is over. All the reporters have gathered, the cameras are focused, the recorders are running, and the boxer sits at the microphone ready to comment on the fight and explain what he did and how he did it.
The boxer will go back and jog everyone’s memory by walking the audience through the fight, step by step. First round, second round, third round—what happened, who threw what, how did he respond? The boxer relives it—albeit briefly—and sums up the fight with precision and insight.
That’s how your conclusion should work too. In the conclusion, you’re summarizing your argument but also bringing the finer points into the foreground where they can be examined closely, tersely, and definitively. You’re the boxer, the essay is your fight, and the conclusion is where you sit before the press and talk about what you’ve just done.
If you’ve saved the best argument for last you’ll be in a great position to build up to that argument in your conclusion just like you did in your paper.
The post-game press interview is the competitor’s last chance to say whatever he didn’t get to say in the ring. In the body of your paper you laid out your arguments. In the introduction, you identified your purpose—your thesis.
In your conclusion, you get to take it a step further and call for change, call for more research on the subject, or call for some type of action based on the arguments and evidence you’ve presented. Your conclusion is your time to step up and state clearly and in no uncertain times why your topic matters and what should be done about.
Re-cap your main points and show how they support your thesis—i.e., your big argument. Don’t just re-state the same words you used earlier in the paper. Use different words, different language—another way of saying what you’ve already said but now in such a way that it is more meaningful for the reader.
Take a moment in your conclusion to also address any opposing ideas or arguments. Explain why these ideas or arguments do not work. Just like the boxer will acknowledge his opponent in his post-game presser, you in your conclusion can spend a minute noting the opposing argument—before you pummel it into the ground with one knockout punch.
Close out with a good line—something memorable and effective that will make your reader remember your argument and why it makes the most sense. You don’t have to go over all the evidence again, but you can neatly draw all of your points into one ultimate distillation of the facts, pull back and show what it all means in the bigger picture.
Concluding the argumentative essay is like getting the last word in edgewise. You have the final say. You make the definitive last statement. Your voice is the last one to be heard. Your argument is the last one to ring out. Use the conclusion to state your thesis anew with vigor and conviction, summarize your supporting arguments in a way that convincingly makes your case, show why the opposing point of view does not hold water, make a clear call for action, and close out with a great line.
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