What is Prose?

Prose is ordinary language that follows regular grammatical conventions and does not contain a formal metrical structure. This definition of prose is an example of prose writing, as is most human conversation, textbooks, lectures, novels, short stories, fairy tales, newspaper articles, and essays.

Prose can be either fiction or non-fiction. It can be “poetic,” meaning that it has rhythmic structure and contains figurative language. Sermons, political speeches, and modernist writing are good examples of poetic fiction.

How Do you Identify Prose in Writing?

Distinguishing prose from poetry is usually just a matter of recognizing the basic conventions of prose writing: paragraphs and sentences that have proper grammar and mechanics. Poetry, on the other hand, contains lines and stanzas. And while there may be a cadence or rhythm to prose, it contains neither a regular meter nor a deliberate rhyme scheme.

Only one form of writing falls in a gray area, and that is the so-called “prose poem.” As the name suggests, prose poems contain a formal metrical structure but are written out like prose, in sentence and paragraph form.

Examples of Prose

Prose Example 1. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is a prose novel.

Prose Example 2. “Cinderella” is a prose fairy tale.

Prose Example 3. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a prose story by Charlotte Gilman Perkins.

Prose Example 4. “The State of the Union Address” is a prose speech delivered early in the year by the sitting president of the United States.

Prose Example 5. “The Declaration of Independence” is a prose document signed by prominent American colonists who wished no longer to be under British rule.

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