Paragraphs are the building blocks of essay development and provide structure when developing the thesis of a paper. Development of a paragraph is necessary to avoid leaving the reader with any significant unanswered questions. A fully developed paragraph provides supporting detail and evidence, and follows a clear pattern of development. There are several different ways to develop effective paragraphs.

Narrative

Narrative paragraphs tell the reader events as they occur, much like telling the reader a story. A writer utilizing the narrative method of paragraph development acts as the main character and allows the reader a place in the center of the action. The narrative voice acts as a vehicle of the story, is always active, utilizes transitions of space and time, and typically focuses on present or past tense.

Definition

A definition paragraph serves the purpose of giving the reader a complete definition of a concept, a term or an idea by telling what the concept, term or idea is, what the concept, term or idea is not, and defining the boundaries of the concept, term or idea. This type of paragraph is useful when a writer is introducing the reader to a specialized or new term or defining a key concept when writing a thesis.

Descriptive

Descriptive paragraphs allow a writer to create a dominant sensory impression for the reader. These paragraphs contain vivid action verbs such as "drip" or "rip," sense words such as "loud" or "pungent" and transitions-of-space words such as "up" and "there." Writers help the readers to understand a story setting by creating visual pictures and giving readers a mental image of a scene.

Persuasive

Persuasive paragraphs encourage readers to take action or to change their thoughts and ideas about a particular subject. When you are writing a persuasive paragraph, bear in mind that readers need all of the information about the topic, including a complete analysis that will help them to formulate their own judgments and opinions and cause them to take action. Persuasive paragraphs are useful when writing columns and editorials.

Exposition

An expository paragraph serves the purpose of explaining, informing, defining and describing a writer's subject to the reader. This type of writing can act as the heart of the article or as a narration or description in the article. When used after an indirect opening, an expository paragraph also serves the purpose of explaining the topic, why the topic is important and what is to come in the remainder of the article. A writer utilizing the expository method must be credible and write with clarity so the reader fully understands the explanation.