5 Smart Ways to End a Paper

Devon Brown has worked as a professional writer for over a decade. Her pieces have been featured in traditional print outlets like National Geographic Traveler and Time Out New York. Currently, her expertise lies in social media. Under the username whatdevondiscovered, she nurtures an active community on Instagram that focuses on education, lifestyle and travel. To find out more visit her on Instagram or Linkedin.

When finishing a paper, there are some fundamental rules that should never be forgotten. The ending must provide a short, powerful summary of all main points, it should never introduce new information, and it should provide the reader with a solution or idea to consider based on the facts presented. A winning paper, however, goes beyond these basics.

Here are five ways to end your paper for a powerful lasting impression. In these examples, let’s assume you have written an essay on the benefits of recycling.


Some of the most powerful words in your paper may have been written or said by someone else. Selecting a quote from a well known public figure or an expert in the field of your topic allows you to finish strong with a credible source.

Example quote ending:

“The case for recycling is strong. The bottom line is clear. Recycling requires a trivial amount of our time. Recycling saves money and reduces pollution. Recycling creates more jobs than landfilling or incineration. And a largely ignored but very important consideration, recycling reduces our need to dump our garbage in someone else’s backyard.” – David Morris, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance

If you have a bibliography, add a citation for your quote source. It doesn’t matter if it is in MLA format or another style, it’s a good practice to always create citations for information you’ve used.


Ending your paper with a smart and relevant question allows your readers to think for themselves and make your topic their own. The best type of question leads your reader to the same conclusion you have presented in your paper.

Example question ending:

Recycling reduces pollution, saves energy and makes us feel good about ourselves; why wouldn’t we make it a part of our everyday lives?

Call to Action

Most popular in advertising, a call to action asks your reader to execute a specific task after reading your paper. A call to action can contain phrases like: Think about it, See for yourself, Consider, Try, or Remember.

Example call to action ending:

Now that you have read about the benefits of recycling, consider the awesome impact it could have on your local community.


Prediction statements often begin with the words “when” or “if.” In this type of ending, the writer makes an educated guess based on the factual information presented in the paper.

Example prediction ending:

If recycling is adopted by all major cities, we can expect its benefits to spread to smaller cities and towns. That means a significant reduction in landfill use, less pollution and more job creation across the entire country. 

Zoom Out

A perspective change can help you end your paper in a way that is creative and interesting. One method is to zoom out and present your subject in a greater context. This ending allows you to take your reader beyond the specifics and provide a more global understanding of your topic. When working with this type of ending, be sure that your statement remains on subject and does not present entirely new information.   

Example zoom out ending:

Recycling is more than a solution for waste management. Treating our environment with respect and protecting our natural resources will benefit our society for generations to come.

Now that you’ve learned a few new ways to end your papers, which will you use to make your final impression?

In addition to proofreading, make sure that you’ve cited any sources used to write you paper. Cite This For Me has useful citation forms and services that can assist you in building a bibliography in APA format, Chicago format, and many more citation styles.