Use the “full circle” approach for an essay conclusion

The introduction and the conclusion are usually the two most difficult parts of the essay for a student to write.  When it is time to write the conclusion, I always suggest rereading the introduction because the introduction and conclusion should support one another.  “Going full circle” is a common idea in writing—starting with one main idea, developing many subtopics, and returning to the main ideas to end.

Here are some ways to do that, using the “when I lost a tooth” topic from a previous blog.  If you can include humor in your conclusion, and leave your reader with a smile, that is the best ending possible.


Anecdote introduction:

My Grandpa says he doesn’t remember when his first teeth fell out but he remembers when his last one did.  It was after he cracked a walnut with his teeth, and a back tooth broke apart.  He had to go to Dr. Taylor’s office to have the rest of the tooth pulled out.

Anecdote conclusion:

Grandpa says I should bite into a walnut with my wiggly tooth.  And I’m tempted after seeing Grandpa’s teeth in a glass on his nightstand.  What if I lost all my teeth and not just the wiggly one? Imagine all the money the tooth fairy would bring me!


Dialog introduction:

“Hey, Mom, how much did the tooth fairy bring when your teeth fell out?”
“A nickel a tooth.”
“A nickel a tooth!  That’s all?”
“That’s all.”
“Didn’t they invent quarters back then?”

Dialog conclusion:

My mother got a nickel, my older cousin got a dime, and my big sister got a quarter.
“Mom, what’s the chance of me getting a half dollar for my loose tooth?”
“Pretty good, honey.”
Sometimes it’s great to be the youngest.


Statistics introduction:

When I was in first grade, every single kid lost a tooth, and most of us lost more than one.  Billy Emsing was the champion though.  He lost seven teeth that year.  I remember because we kept track with a bar graph on the bulletin board.

Statistics conclusion:

Now that I’m starting fifth grade, no one is losing their teeth any more.  But some kids, like me, are starting to sprout up.  Maybe I could get my teacher to post a bar graph of the number of inches we grow this year.  With my dad being six feet two inches, I have a chance of winning that contest!


Startling claim introduction:

Suppose you brush your teeth for a minute in the morning and a minute in the evening every day this year.  That’s 730 minutes, or more than 12 hours standing in front of a sink brushing your teeth.

Startling claim conclusion:

Twelve hours brushing teeth in one year times 80 years is about 960 hours in a lifetime.  That’s 40 days of our lives spent brushing our teeth.  Yikes!  I better buy a strong toothbrush.

In the next blog we’ll look at some other kinds of conclusions.

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