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Depends on what you're writing about. If it's a traditional 5 paragraph essay, a good way to start is with a transition, then a short summary of the themes in your 3 topic sentences. Example: Ultimately, the central theme of empathy is expressed throughout the novel in the characters' words, actions, and symbolic behavior. (Transition word), (your thesis, why you were writing the paper) (how it relates to what you just wrote) (remind the reader of your 3 central topic sentences). Make sense?
The conclusion is the end of the journey. It looks back on the points you have shown the reader, and reinforces, but does not necessarily repeat, the main idea. It also should create a feeling of ending, a farewell to the reader. This is your final paragraph, therefore the most important. This will be the paragraph that is most fresh in the readers' mind after they put the term paper down. A good way to form your conclusion is to reform the introductory paragraph in reverse form. In other words, have the conclusion contain the following, in the order written: Restate your thesis, but in different words than before. Summarize your three major points in the body paragraphs. Close with a general statement that reflects insight on your topic. This paragraph may begin with "In conclusion" or "To conclude" (although some markers find these somewhat mundane) or "Clearly" and often restates the thesis statement in different words. It may move from there to a general comment about life, or to a final important point, or to a suggestion about future action that may be needed. Some writers like to end with a relevant quotation, or end with a question, or end with a prediction or warning. Another concluding technique is to end with some idea or detail from the beginning of the essay (thus bringing this idea full circle). Yet another means of concluding is to end with an allusion to a historical or mythological figure or event.
Yeah, I've always been told not to start your conclusion with "In conclusion" or similar phrases. A good alternative is to start with a sentence that refutes the main argument against your opinion (in persuasive essays), and then recap your points or evidence that supports your opinion. End with a strong closing statement which could be one that is insightful or comes full circle as FalguniM mentioned, or you could use a call to action statement."Therefore society must . . . " Something like that.
Good one FalguniM
Generally, if you have some kind of interesting "attention getter" in the introduction, you would tie back in to that at the beginning of your conclusion and use that to jump off.