Persuasive essays attempt to influence readers to change their attitudes about a topic. To write an effective persuasive essay, choose a topic you feel strongly about and then use well-developed and carefully structured body paragraphs to create a powerful argument. Paragraphs for the essay should contain topic sentences, support, concluding sentences and transitions.
Create a Topic Sentence
Develop a strong topic sentence for the body paragraph that connects to one of the topics from your persuasive thesis. The topic sentence explains that the paragraph will focus on this one point to persuade your readers. For instance, a paragraph within a persuasive paper convincing readers that high school students should wear uniforms could begin, "Requiring uniforms helps reduce theft in schools." The reader understands the paragraph's focus from this topic sentence. It also connects to the thesis, emphasizing the persuasive stance about requiring uniforms. The rest of the paragraph would go on to support this point, explaining how theft is reduced when students do not have more expensive clothing and shoes that sets them up as targets.
Add Detailed Support
The information within the body paragraph must help convince your readers of your point. Examples, statistics, opinions and anecdotes from your own experience or research lend support to your persuasive paper. A paragraph in a paper persuading readers that cities should offer free Internet to residents might focus on the educational benefits. To support that point, you could add an explanation of how school test scores increased after a city offered Wi-Fi, include a quote from an expert about how access raises intellectual ability and explain your own thoughts about how more people would read Web information and therefore acquire more knowledge.
Include Enough Detail
Write at least three sentences to support the main idea. As the Purdue University Online Writing Lab indicates, paragraphs made up of just a few sentences generally lack substantive backing. Your paragraph must help persuade your reader to adopt your beliefs, so it needs to be specific and fully developed using elements like comparing and contrasting, data, anecdotes, analysis, description or cause and effect. A paragraph about the costs of free Wi-Fi for city residents could have numbers to illustrate the price of setting it up and how those costs could be made up through taxes, for example.
Write a Concluding Sentence
End your body paragraph with a concluding sentence to tie the ideas together and stress how the details you provided support your overall persuasive point. For a paper persuading readers that dogs should not be euthanized if they attack someone, a paragraph focused on the possibilities of retraining could end, "Society does not condone killing a human incapable of understanding the consequences of his actions and able to change; killing animals before attempting retraining should not be accepted, either." The sentence emphasizes the connection between the support and the persuasive argument.
Add transitions throughout your paragraph to more clearly connect the ideas to each other and your overall argument. Use words and phrases like "similarly" or "consequently" to illustrate how the ideas relate, or repeat key words and phrases such as "government regulation of gambling" to remind readers of the relationships. Include pronouns like "it" to refer to the government regulation and synonyms like "laws" for coherence. Parallel structure -- using the same grammatical structure in multiple sentences -- also helps connect ideas, for example: "Government regulation will prevent abuse. Government regulation will provide jobs. Government regulation will increase state funds."