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If you’ve been paying attention you may have seen that we’ve already mentioned “rhetoric” a couple of times so far in this post – and this is no accident.You can’t really talk about essay conclusions without talking about rhetoric.
And it’s true you’re likely to find all of these somewhere in the conclusion of an essay.
"Words and phrases like 'recap', 'summary' and 'restatement of your thesis' don't accurately describe what an essay conclusion is.
But rhetoric is one of the oldest scholarly disciplines in the world.
In Classical societies – and in fact right up to the beginning of the twentieth century – it was considered one of the most important disciplines throughout Western society.
The fact that it’s acquired something of a bad name over the last hundred years or so doesn’t mean it’s not still the foundation of good writing. Both could make an identical set of arguments with the same supporting evidence and elicit entirely different responses in their readers.
More importantly, your rhetorical skills can make a huge difference to whether your reader actually buys your argument. It’s true that the excessive use of rhetorical flourishes can rub your reader up the wrong way.
The conclusion to an essay is the most purely rhetorical part of the entire piece.
By “rhetorical”, we mean a conclusion’s (and indeed the entire essay’s) ability to convince or persuade the reader of certain outlooks or arguments.
An essay conclusion needs to use rhetoric to emotionally connect with the reader in some way.
And this is done through the use of certain language and the way the information is presented.