Definition of Prose
Prose is a communicative style that sounds natural and uses grammatical structure. Prose is the opposite of verse, or poetry, which employs a rhythmic structure that does not mimic ordinary speech. There is, however, some poetry called “prose poetry” that uses elements of prose while adding in poetic techniques such as heightened emotional content, high frequency of metaphors, and juxtaposition of contrasting images. Most forms of writing and speaking are done in prose, including short stories and novels, journalism, academic writing, and regular conversations.
The word “prose” comes from the Latin expression prosa oratio, which means straightforward or direct speech. Due to the definition of prose referring to straightforward communication, “prosaic” has come to mean dull and commonplace discourse. When used as a literary term, however, prose does not carry this connotation.
Common Examples of Prose
Casual dialogueOrationDictionary definitionPhilosophical texts: Journalism:
Examples of Prose in Literature
Example #1Don QuixoteDon Quixote
Example #2Wuthering Heights
Example #3My AntoniaMy Antonia
Example #4The Sun also Rises
His prose was very direct and straightforward.In this excerpt from The Sun Also Rises, the narrator declares, "Do not think I am very much impressed by that as a boxing title" demonstrating his direct style.
Example #5To the LighthouseTo the Lighthouse
Test Your Knowledge of Prose1. Choose the best prose definition from the following statements:A.B.C.
2. Why is the following quote from William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116” not an example of prose?A.B.C.D.
3. Which of the following excerpts from works by Margaret Atwood is a prose example?A. B. The Handmaid’s TaleC.