The Study Dude—Closing Clinchers for Essays

Over the last four weeks, I’ve written about the essay research phase, the essay writing phase, the essay editing phase, and opening hooks.  This week, it’s time to focus on closing clinchers for essays.

If you are striving for an A+, a closing clincher can get you the grade.

I once wrote an essay so good that the professor asked to read it aloud to all of his related classes.  But he didn’t give me an A+ and not even an A.  Why? My final closing paragraph didn’t work well.  It rambled on and didn’t close with a clincher.

We all love recipes for success, so how about one for clinchers?

The only ingredients needed for this recipe are an imagination, computer, an opening hook, a thesis statement, and an essay in progress, preferably on the first or later full draft.

But first, we need to define a clincher.  The clincher is the final sentence in your paper.  It needs to be gripping, engaging, and provocative.  It also needs to relate directly to your thesis statement.

Here is a smorgasbord of clincher types with which to close your paper:

Predict the Future Outcome.

To create a final clincher that predicts the future, use words such as “as a result of [event], [such-and-such] has a higher probability of occurring,” “as a consequence of [action], [such-and-such] may be more likely to occur,” “with this in mind, the future may result in …”.

You can, if supported in your research, make a bolder statement, such as “Because of the [problem], [such-and-such] will inevitably lead to [greater problem].”

Challenge or Recommend an Action Based on Your Research Findings.

To end with a recommendation or challenge, use words such as “[so-and-so] could benefit by … .  As a result, the net gain would …,” “If [so-and-so] took the following action, they’d contribute to …,” or “[This benefit] would arise should [so-and-so] pursue the initiative of ….,” “[So-and-so] should [action] to help …”.

You could even say, “It would be recommended for [such-and-such action] to take place.  The benefits of this action would include …”.

When giving recommendations or challenges, should statements are invaluable.

Make a Moral Judgment About your Opening Hook.

If you open with a quote or startling fact—a hook—you could end with a moral judgment about that opener.  For instance, if your opening starts with a child cancer survivor’s quote on her recent diagnosis of a new cancer, and if your thesis explores cancer treatments globally, you might end with a clincher: “If simultaneous, multiple therapies were permitted in Western medicine, including the more obscure alternative therapy approaches globally, perhaps this child may not have suffered a second diagnosis.”

Suggest Additional Research that May Build on Your Findings or Explore an Area Missing in Your Research.

A sophisticated way to end a paper is to recommend additional research.  For this clincher, use words such as “To build on this research …,” “A future investigation of this topic could involve …,” or “To fill in a gap of this research, it is recommended to investigate….”

As an alternative, you could say, “A related topic that has not yet been studied using this model is …,” but you might want to wait for grad studies for this one, as you’ll learn more models and methods at that level of your studies.

You could also say, “A relevant and related topic that this theory could apply to is …” if you are writing a paper using, say, feminist theory or critical race theory, but the related topic should build on your thesis statement.

And those are your clinchers.  Bear in mind that your clincher needs to tie into your thesis statements.  If a clincher has nothing to do with your thesis statement, scrap the clincher and start anew.  A great opening hook, catchy clincher, and error-free essay can bolster a grade to mind-boggling status.

But how do you craft a solid thesis statement? That’s another page in the Cookbook.

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