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Conclusion Indicators

As mentioned before, the conclusion usually comes at the end of an argument, sometimes at the beginning, but rarely in the middle. Writers use certain words to indicate that the conclusion is about to be stated. Following is a list of the most common conclusion indicators:


Conclusion Indicators







follows that

shows that

conclude that


as a result

means that

These conclusion flags are very helpful, but you must use them cautiously because many of these words have other functions.

All devout Muslims abstain from alcohol. Steve is a devout Muslim. Thus, he abstains from alcohol.

In this example, "thus" anticipates the conclusion that necessarily follows from the first two sentences.
Notice the different function of thus in the following sentence.



The problem is simple when the solution is thus stated.

In this example, thus means "in that manner."


Most often the conclusion of an argument is put in the form of a statement (as in all the examples we have considered so far).
Sometimes, however, the conclusion is given as a command or obligation.



All things considered, you ought to vote.

Here, the author implies that you are obliged to vote.



Son, unless you go to college, you will not make a success of yourself. No Carnegie has ever been a failure. So you will go to college.

Here the conclusion is given as an imperative command.


The conclusion can even be put in the form of a question. This rhetorical technique is quite effective in convincing people that a certain position is correct. We are more likely to believe something if we feel that we concluded it on our own, or at least if we feel that we were not told to believe it. A conclusion put in question form can have this result.



The Nanuuts believe that they should not take from nature anything she cannot replenish during their lifetime. This assures that future generations can enjoy the same riches of nature that they have. At the current rate of destruction, the rain forests will disappear during our lifetime. Do we have an obligation to future generations to prevent this result?

Here the author trusts that the power of her argument will persuade the reader to answer the question affirmatively.


Taking this rhetorical technique one step further, the writer may build up to the conclusion but leave it unstated. This allows the reader to make up his own mind. If the build-up is done skillfully, the reader will be more likely to agree with the author and still not feel manipulated.



He who is without sin should cast the first stone. There is no one here who does not have a skeleton in his closet.

The unstated but obvious conclusion here is that none of the people has the right to cast the first stone.

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