Your conclusion has to remind readers of your thesis. It can also refer back to the contrary statements in your introduction. It might even end with an extension into daily life by suggesting how to change behaviors. These are the basics. A conclusion that includes these parts will probably work well. If you want to go a step beyond the basics, though, you could include a concession.

Adding a Concession

A concession relaxes the me-against-them stance. You look at the other side, the contrary statements, and say, “Some of these make sense.” You admit that there are some valid ideas on the other side. Perhaps you can add a contrasting idea and finish with your thesis: “. . . in most cases and for most people, hard physical work will make them feel good.”

The following conclusion includes a concession:

A young woman is getting her haircut. The barber is halfway through and her hair is strange and uneven.

Source: “Halfway done,” swirlspice, Flickr

It is true that there are times when it’s better to do nothing than doing only a small part of the work. It’s better to put shingles on a roof when you have time to do the whole job. It’s better to mix concrete for a sidewalk when you also have time to pour it in the forms. It’s better to start cutting someone’s hair when you don’t have to stop halfway through. Sometimes small differences cannot be made unless all of the work has been completed. Sometimes it’s better not to make small differences until you can make the big difference and reach the ultimate goal. Still, in most cases, small differences are better than nothing. In most cases, small differences are worth making.

Can you identify the parts of the conclusion above? For this exercise, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the sentences that make up the concession. If you choose correctly they will highlight in blue.
  2. Click on the sentence that makes the transition to the thesis. If you choose correctly it will highlight in yellow.
  3. Click on the sentence that that restates the thesis. If you choose correctly it will highlight in pink.

The conclusion should state your main point one more time so that readers are clear about your position. A concession can make your position stronger by demonstrating that you understand possible exceptions and, in spite of this, you still take the position stated in your thesis.