How to End a Paragraph
Creating well-structured paragraphs helps readers understand the overall point and the connections among the concepts. After the topic sentence and support, paragraphs should end with a concluding sentence that summarizes the ideas in the paragraph, emphasizes the point of the paragraph and creates a sense of closure for the reader.
Summarize the Ideas
A recap in the concluding sentence reminds the reader of the paragraph's purpose. Avoid restating the topic sentence or body ideas verbatim. Instead, explain how the ideas connect. For instance, a paragraph explaining why a movie is good might end, "These three elements come together in Movie X to create a fun movie experience." This statement reiterates the idea without spelling out each point again. Similarly, a paragraph describing your favorite teacher with points about his "sense of humor" and "strong educational background" could end, "With his fun attitude and effective content knowledge, Mr. Jones makes school fun." This sentence echos the ideas in the topic sentence but uses synonyms to avoid using the exact language.
Connect to the Expository Type
Your concluding sentence should reflect the type of essay you are writing in order to emphasize the point more clearly. Expository essays such as comparison/contrast, process analysis and exemplification need to connect to that type in the concluding sentence. For instance, a contrast paragraph examining the differences between high school and college might end, "High school students aware of these differences will likely have a more successful college experience." This statement reminds the reader that the contrast is the point and gives a reason for readers to care about the topic. Likewise, a process paragraph explaining how to write an essay might end, "Following these steps results in a clear, logical paper and a good grade." Here, the language clearly references that the paper analyzes the process.
Focus on Relevance for Narration and Description
Description -- describing a scene or person with sensory language -- and narration -- telling a story -- need to emphasize the reason for the depiction or tale. You might need to draw an inference or warn readers about the topic. For example, a description about a relaxing place might have the concluding sentence, "Jennifer can handle her stressful daily life knowing the cabin waits for her when she needs to relax," which explains the reason for describing the place. For a narrative about a life-changing event, the concluding sentence might be, "Watching his grandfather's struggles opened Sadhi's eyes to the dangers of untreated diabetes." From this sentence, the reader understands the lesson learned from the story.
Use Effective Transitions
Connecting the concluding sentence to the other ideas in the paragraph with a transition will help indicate to the reader that the paragraph is ending. Transitional words like "in summary," "in conclusion" and "therefore" signal conclusions. You may also choose to use pronouns such as "they" and "these" or key words to make such connections. For example, a paragraph defining a good student might end, "These characteristics define the good student, one able to achieve success in education." "These" reminds the reader of the characteristics previously mentioned, and the "good student" repetition helps the reader remember the paragraph's point.
Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.