What Is Prose? (with Examples)

Prose is the normal form of language. Prose contrasts with poetry or verse.

The Difference between Prose and Poetry

Prose is usually written in paragraph form, and it does not rhyme. Stories and articles (fictional and non-fictional) are written in prose. Songs and poems are written in verse.

The British philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) explained the difference between prose and poetry like this:
"Prose is when all the lines except the last go on to the end. Poetry is when some of them fall short of it." (Jeremy Bentham)

The British author John Beverley Nichols (1898-1983) uses the difference between prose and poetry to present this idea:
"Marriage: a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose." (Beverly Nichols)

The Difference between Prose and Prosaic Writing

The adjective from prose is prosaic. However, the term prosaic writing is not necessarily synonymous with prose.

The adjective prosaic carries the connotation of something being basic or simple. (Prosaic is synonymous with adjectives like everyday, run-of-the-mill, normal, ordinary, routine, and standard.)

In other words, a piece of writing described as prose might contain some imaginative figurative language. However, a piece of writing described as prosaic writing wouldn't contain such artistic flair (e.g., metaphors, similes, and hyperbole.)

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See Also

What are paragraphs? What is figurative language? Glossary of grammatical terms