Writing

What Is a Clincher Sentence and How To Write One (Definition & Examples)

Posted: October 3, 2022
Word count: 1,410 (5 min)

Learn what a clincher sentence is and how to write one, including fiction and non-fiction examples.

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Tomas Laurinavicius

Co-founder & Chief Editor, Best Writing

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You read an engaging article. You read it with interest.

But somehow, after completing it, you forget what it was all about.

Sounds familiar?

Here comes the function of clincher sentences.

Clincher sentences reinstate the essential idea of the text in the reader’s mind.

If you want your readers to take away something substantial from your text and have a lasting impression in their minds, you need to write good clincher sentences.

What is a Clincher Sentence? (Definition)

A clincher sentence is a concluding sentence that re-establishes the key statement of your article.

Examples of Clincher Sentences

You can find clincher sentences in every good piece, from technical to academic writing.

Fiction Examples

He knew his God was having his revenge, he knew the game was up, he saw that the contract had been broken, and the sanity clause did not, after all, exist, that temptation had been deliberately and maliciously thrown in his path. In short, all deals were off.

Smith, Z., 2001. White Teeth. Penguin Books.

Kaz rose, snatched his new hat from the desk where he’d left it, and gave the Fjerdan one last kick to the kidneys for good measure. Sometimes the big ones didn’t know when to stay down.

Bardugo, L., Six of Crows. Henry Holt & Company

Matthias was dreaming again. Dreaming of her. The storm raged around him, drowning out Nina’s voice. And yet his heart was easy. Somehow he knew that she would be safe, she would find shelter from the cold. He was on the ice once more, and somewhere he could hear the wolves howling. But this time, he knew they were welcoming him home.

Bardugo, L., Crooked Kingdom. Henry Holt & Company

This was how they lived there, in the bush: Eat or be eaten. Capture or be captured. Marry for protection. Quey would never go to Cudjo’s village. He would not be weak. He was in the business of slavery, and sacrifices had to be made.

Gyasi, Y., 2016. Homegoing. United States: Penguin Random House.

Non-fiction Examples

With the advent of psychoanalysis, among other new ideas, the theological search for God had been replaced by the epistemological quest for self-knowledge; enlightenment was not to be found in Christianity or in society but in the self, in individual subjective consciousness.

Childs, P., 2008. Modernism. 2nd ed. Routledge, p.62.

Henry James did not invent the ‘point of view’, but his prefaces gave the method a general importance it lacked as long as it was practised unconsciously. No novelist now can fail to take the ‘point of view’ into account. For this reason Miss Tompkins’s study of eighteenth-century technique is of far wider importance than the novelists she discusses.

Greene, G., 2014. Collected essays. London: Vintage, pp.72-73.

The problem of finding a collection of ‘wise’ men and leaving the government to them is thus an insoluble one. That is the ultimate reason for democracy.

Russell, B., 2004. History of Western Philosophy. Routledge.

The alpenglow is fading into earthy, murky gloom, but do not let your town habits draw you away to the hotel. Stay on this good fire-mountain and spend the night among the stars. Watch their glorious bloom until the dawn, and get one more baptism of light. Then, with fresh heart, go down to your work, and whatever your fate, under whatever ignorance or knowledge you may afterward chance to suffer, you will remember these fine, wild views, and look back with joy to your wanderings in the blessed old Yellowstone Wonderland.

Muir, J., n.d. Wilderness Essays. Layton: Gibbs Smith.

How to Write a Clincher Sentence?

You’ll often find a clincher sentence in the final paragraph, especially the last sentence.

As we have seen from above, a clincher sentence reinforces your idea.

You can use a clincher to summarize your writing and leave the reader with advice or action they can follow up with.

You can start writing a clincher by summarizing your writing in a single sentence.

You can use the following to begin your clincher:

  • To sum up, (add your key argument here)
  • In conclusion, (sum up the main points)
  • Therefore, (give a generalized summary of your writing)
  • Ultimately, (add your key idea)
  • Remember, (sum up your main advice)
  • Ask the reader to follow your advice in your own words;

When to Make Use of a Clincher Sentence

Use a clincher sentence to reinforce an argument or wrap up a complex idea.

If your thesis contains multiple ideas, references, you can use a clincher sentence for every paragraph and a meta-clincher in the end.

It will boil down the points for the ease of the reader.

Where to Use a Clincher Sentence

You can use a clincher in the concluding sentence of the final paragraph.

Or you can use a clincher where you think is necessary.

Complicated contents use a lot of thought and jargon, and at times it’s hard for the reader to follow.

Use a clincher sentence creatively, bring the reader back on track, and continue your writing.

While writing essays, follow the five-method rule.

Start with an expository paragraph. Then write the first body paragraph.

Follow them up with the second and the third body paragraph.

Make sure that each section supports it by reinstating your argument.

Let the expository paragraph contain the key central idea.

Let each paragraph have its central idea and clincher sentence unless you’re writing fiction.

Then make effective use of cliffhangers. Now, what is a cliffhanger, you may ask? We’ll come to that in the next paragraph.

An effective paragraph will have both.

In conclusion, use a clincher sentence to sum up your points in the closing paragraph. (I did it right here!)

What is a cliffhanger? Can I Use It Alongside a Clincher?

The dictionary meaning of a cliffhanger is “a dramatic and exciting ending to an episode of a serial, leaving the audience in suspense and anxious not to miss the next episode.”

Cliffhangers create suspense.

And yes, you can use it alongside a clincher sentence.

An example of a cliffhanger is,

“Before Esi left, the one called Governor looked at her and smiled. It was a kind smile, pitying, yet true. But for the rest of her life Esi would see a smile on a white face and remember the one the soldier gave her before taking her to his quarters, how white men smiling just meant more evil was coming with the next wave.” – Gyasi, Y., 2016. Homegoing. United States: Penguin Random House.

How Many Clinchers Should I Write?

Use clinchers wisely, but as much you think is required. The end of a paragraph or a chapter is a great place to have a clincher.

The writer should keep the readers’ ease in mind.

Readers don’t have the time to go through lengthy paragraphs. They generally scroll down to read the last paragraph to read the thesis summary.

The closing sentence should contain the answer to the objective you were writing towards.

How to Find a Clincher Sentence in a Text

You can usually find clinchers in the last sentence.

However, you can put a clincher in the paragraphs necessary to restate your ideas before beginning a new topic.

The Clincher Quiz

(a) A good clincher contains

  1. new words and ideas
  2. summary of keywords and ideas used
  3. exact words of the essay

(b) You can find a clincher in

  1. the concluding sentence
  2. the topic sentence
  3. examples

(c) Clinchers are used in

  1. academic writing
  2. thesis
  3. writing an essay
  4. all of the above

(d) Clincher sentences help

  1. restate the essential idea
  2. boils down a large number of points
  3. form a compelling impression on the reader
  4. predicting health problems
  5. points 1, 2 and 3

(e) A clincher sentence enables the reader to

  1. remember the key points of a complex academic writing
  2. go through a topic quickly without reading the whole post
  3. understand a large number of ideas
  4. not pay attention to every word
  5. all of the above

Answers

(a) 2

(b) 1

(c) 4

(d) 5

(e) 5

The Clincher-Clincher

A clincher sentence helps summarize a text while re-establishing all the essential ideas.

It contains the primary keywords, arguments, and examples of the writing.

Try not to introduce new ideas, points in the clincher sentence.

To sum up, a clincher sentence is a comprehensive summary of your text.

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