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Examples of conclusion paragraphs for argumentative essays

Jun 8, 2018

I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights. But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and I have never seen the day when I did not pray for them. Robert E. Lee

The Five-Paragraph
Essay

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.

Introduction:

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:

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.

Conclusion:

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

1Stephen 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. 2Poe, as does Stephen King, fills the reader's imagination with the images that he wishes the reader to see, hear, and feel. 3His use of vivid, concrete visual imagery to present both static and dynamic settings and to describe people is part of his technique. 4Poe'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. 5In "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. 1The sense of sight, the primary sense, is particularly susceptible to manipulation. 2In "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. 1Further 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. 2The 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. 3Poe 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." 4By 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. 1The reader does not know much about what the old man in this story looks like except that he has one blind eye. 2In 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." 3This "vulture eye" is evoked over and over again in the story until the reader becomes as obsessed with it as does the young man. 4His 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. 2Poe wanted the reader to see and feel real life. 3He used concrete imagery rather than vague abstract words to describe settings and people. 4If 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.

Myrtle is a teenager whose parents have set a curfew for her, but she wants to stay out longer. She thinks that she might be able to convince her parents to extend her curfew if she makes a sound argument. To make her case, she's decided to write them a letter.

An argumentative essay is a writing piece meant to persuade someone to think the way you do. Though it's usually organized as an essay, Myrtle's letter to her parents is also a type of argumentative writing. To help Myrtle write her essay, let's take a closer look at the elements and format of an argumentative essay.

Myrtle wants to convince her parents to give her a later curfew, and she's going to write an argumentative essay to do that. But where does she even start? What information does she need to include in her essay?

There are some specific elements that are needed in an argumentative essay. The first and most important element in a persuasive essay is the position, or what side the author is on. For example, Myrtle's position is that her curfew should be later. The position is not all that Myrtle needs to include in her essay. In fact, if all she does is state her position, it won't be very convincing. All her letter would say is, 'I think you should let me stay out later.' Her parents would just shrug and say, 'We disagree.'

In order to convince her parents, then, Myrtle also needs to include reasons, or why the author believes the way he or she does. For example, Myrtle could support her position by offering reasons like the fact that she's responsible, she's older than she used to be, and that a later curfew will allow her to study at the library for longer.

By offering these reasons, Myrtle has made her letter more convincing. She can take this even further, however, by supporting her reasons with evidence, or facts and data that support reasons. For example, remember that one of Myrtle's reasons is that a later curfew will allow her to study at the library for longer. She can support this reason with evidence. Maybe she has scientific articles that show that studying at the library is more effective than studying at home. Or perhaps she has data showing that kids with later curfews spend more time in the library. Both of those pieces of evidence could support her reason.

Of course, to be truly effective, Myrtle will want to include the source of her evidence. After all, if she just made it up, it's not really evidence. Further, the source of some evidence can be questionable. Imagine that she has an article about how kids with later curfews spend more time at the library, but it was written by someone who, like Myrtle, is trying to convince his parents to let him stay out later. In this case, the article might not be completely accurate and true.

If all Myrtle includes in her essay is her position, reasons, and evidence, she could make a pretty convincing case. But the best essays also include counterarguments, sometimes shortened to counters, which are reasons why the other side's arguments are not correct. For example, let's say that one thing that Myrtle's parents say to her consistently is that teenagers need sleep. She knows this is one reason why her parents don't want to extend her curfew. In her essay, she can address this and provide a counter. For example, she could write something like, 'You believe that extending my curfew will mean I get less sleep. But I stay up late already, and just because I'm home early doesn't mean that I'll go to bed early.'

Myrtle's reasons and evidence support her side. By providing counters, too, Myrtle is defeating arguments from the other side, which makes her essay even more convincing.

Format

Okay, Myrtle understands the things that she needs to include in her letter to her parents. But how should she organize all that information? What's the format for an argumentative essay?

Argumentative essays can be organized in many different ways, but one common format for persuasive writing is the five paragraph essay, which includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In the introduction, which is the first paragraph of the essay, Myrtle will want to explain the issue and state her position. For example, she'll mention that staying out late is an issue that is important to many people. She'll state that she believes that her curfew should be later.

In some essays, the introduction should also include background information. For example, in an essay about taxing sugary soda drinks, background information might include information on the growing number of people purchasing sodas, and the growing obesity epidemic. Essentially anything that needs to be understood before reading the rest of the essay is background information, and should be included in the introduction.

After the introduction, Myrtle will want to write three paragraphs that, collectively, will make up the body of the essay. In each paragraph, she'll want to focus on one reason or counter, and include evidence to support it. For example, she might want to write one paragraph on the idea that she could study at the library for longer, another paragraph on how she's older and more responsible than she used to be, and therefore deserves a later curfew, and another paragraph on the counter that an earlier curfew does not mean that she'll get more sleep.

Finally, Myrtle will end her essay with a conclusion, which will include a restatement of her position and a brief summary of her reasons and counters.

Lesson Summary

An argumentative essay is a persuasive writing piece. It includes several elements: the position, or what side the author is on; reasons, or why the author believes the way he does; evidence, or facts and data that support reasons; and counterarguments, sometimes shortened to counters, which are reasons why the other side's arguments are not correct.

Argumentative essays are organized in many different ways, but one popular format is the five paragraph essay, which includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The introduction includes an explanation of the issue, background information, and the author's position. Each body paragraph focuses on one reason or counter and provides evidence to support it. Finally, the conclusion includes a restatement of the position and a brief summary of the reasons and counters.

The Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essay definition

Learning Outcomes

Completing this lesson should help you feel comfortable in doing the following:

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