The ability to write a powerful clincher sentence is essential for ALL types of writing (not just academic). It’s what separates mediocre writers from those who actually impact the lives of their readers.
But what exactly is a clincher sentence?
Well, it’s basically a closing sentence that sums up your main message with a BANG.
Most of what you read each day doesn’t make much of an impression on you. It doesn’t “stick”. You finish reading, move onto the next thing, and forget what you read 10 seconds later.
That’s because most of what you read doesn’t end with a clincher sentence.
A good clincher makes you think “Aww snap! Let me reflect on this for a sec.”
Think of clincher sentences as a “Mic Drop Moment.”
How to write a “mic drop” clincher sentence:
There’s no one magic formula for writing a clincher sentence, but there are a handful of technique that tend to work well.
First let’s look at some of the 10 most effective techniques. Then we’ll move on to some examples.
The Quote – If you’re at a loss for words, try leaving the reader with a short inspirational quote that drives your message home.
The Twist – End with a takeaway the reader was not expecting.
The Takeaway – Close your message with a straightforward conclusion.
The Action – Psyche up your audience to take a specific action.
The Reflection Question – Sometimes the action is obvious. What the reader needs is motivation to act. A great way to do this is to end with a simple question that makes the reader reflect on their life (as it relates to your message).
The Takeaway + Action – A one-two punch combining the previous two techniques. Start by highlighting your key takeaway. Then finish her off by showing how it can be applied to the reader’s life.
The Analogy – Rehash your main points in your final paragraph. Then end it with an analogy that cements your message into their mind.
The Reminder – Remind the reader of something important regarding your message (e.g. a benefit, warning, tip, fact, argument, etc).
The Full-Circle – Repeat a key phrase (or emotional moment) used earlier in message. This might mean copying a memorable phrase word-for-word or simply referring back to a meaningful story you told earlier in the message.
The Golden Nugget – Leave the reader with a profound piece of wisdom that reinforces your message.
The Goosebump Giver – These types of clincher sentences are used a lot in movies and songs. Unlike the other techniques, goosebump givers don’t necessarily reinforce a takeaway or provoke action. Instead, they aim straight for the heart strings, creating a strong emotional reaction you won’t forget.
Clincher sentence examples (and other mic drop inspiration):
Writing a clincher sentence from scratch can be tough.
So instead of inventing one out of thin air, let’s make life easier and take a shortcut.
Movies are one of the best sources for clincher sentence inspiration. By examining memorable movie quotes, we can dissect why a phrase was so memorable and then apply it to writing clincher sentences.
If you pay close attention, you’ll be surprised by how much clincher material is sprinkled throughout your favorite movies.
Sometimes it’ll be word-for-word, other times it’s simply a mic-drop-worthy idea.
Here are a few to get you started…
The Takeaway (King Kong):
An impactful clincher that sums up what happened in the movie in one concise phrase.
The Full Circle (Avengers Endgame):
For all you Avengers fans out there. This is the perfect example of the “Full Circle” strategy. The movie begins and ends with the same emotional phrase (while simultaneously tugging at the heartstrings).
Here’s a classic twist example. Just like in the movies, a key to writing an effective twist clincher is to sprinkle subtle clues throughout your writing.
The Goosebump Giver (The Lion King):
No explanation needed. *wipes away tear*
The Quote (The Godfather):
Movies are full of popular quotes you can use as powerful clincher sentences. For example, this quote would be a perfect way to end an article on why small business owners should pay attention to what their competitors are doing.
The Analogy (The Karate Kid):
Here’s a clincher sentence example that isn’t actually used as a clincher in the movie itself. However, it’s so well known, that if you used it as an analogy to end your message, everyone would understand.
Movies aren’t the only place to find inspiration. Whenever you read a good blog post, pay close attention to how it ends. This is a great way to generate new clincher sentence ideas.
Here are some clincher sentence examples from blog posts.
There’s no need to overcomplicate clincher sentences. Remember, the main purpose is to make an impact on the reader so they continue thinking about your post. Sometimes simple trumps fancy.
For example, in this post on how to become a copywriter, Neville makes it painfully obvious what the reader should do.
Clever? No. Effective? Yes.
The Takeaway + Action
Here’s an example from my blog, Project Untethered. After writing a ginormous post that lists 100+ ways to make money while traveling, I didn’t just leave them hanging. No, I summed up my key takeaway and spurred them into action.
In this post about writing real estate listings, Neville uses a powerful Reminder clincher by simply turning it into a formula.
This is an easy-peasy way to burn a message into the mind of your readers.
The Golden Nugget
A golden nugget doesn’t necessarily have to be some eloquent Buddhist mantra. It can anything that alters the reader’s perspective or “opens their mind”.
In this example, Neville sums up his takeaways on becoming a full stack writer. Then he finishes with a wisdom bomb that could completely change the reader’s outlook on learning new freelancing skills.
The Reflection Question
In this article on how to write faster, the call to action is crystal clear. But to make the conclusion even stronger, a simple clincher question was added.
Now, instead of just clicking over to the next article, the reader will take a second to reflect on how taking action could improve their life.
See how easy writing a clincher sentence can be?
Yes, you could spend hours writing your own clincher sentence from scratch.
But why make it more difficult than it needs to be?
With all the inspiration out there, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
You worked hard putting together a piece of killer content—your gift to the world. Don’t forget to wrap it up and stick on the bowtie.
Hope this helps!