You have probably come across the term prose, but are you aware of what it is? In this article, we are going to be looking at exactly what prose is and what it is used for. On top of this, we are going to be taking a look at some examples of prose to allow us to gain a greater understanding of how it works.
What Is Prose?
When you read a novel, a newspaper or perhaps even a textbook, you are reading prose. The simplest definition of what prose is is a form of writing which has a natural flow with speech and writing. It is grammatically correct but does not have a metrical structure as something like poetry would have, for example.
However, the prose isn’t limited to written works, it is also, for the most part, how we speak in our everyday language and also how we think. When we talk about prose we are referring to a type of language which does not demonstrate any particular structure but leans more in favour of delivering concise and clear language that can be easily understood. The term prose is derived from the Latin language and translates as meaning ‘straightforward.’
When looking at prose you will notice that it is made up of sentences which are grammatically correct and these form paragraphs. In some instances, however, you might come across another type of prose known as prose poetry which blends the two techniques together.
Types of Prose
There are various types of prose, as follows:
- Nonfiction prose-this type is written work based around facts, you might see this in such pieces of writing such as auto-biographies or an essay.
- Fictional prose-this type is a work of fiction such as a novel or a short story.
- Heroic prose-this is a type of prose which is literary that can be either written or spoken, you might notice this form of prose when looking at myths and legends.
- Prose poetry-a form of prose that is intertwined with elements of poetry.
Now that we have a greater understanding of what prose is and how it works, we are going to be taking a look at some examples. It is important to bear in mind that there are millions of examples of prose and by studying these examples, you will more easily be able to determine whether something is prose when reading or hearing it.
- By taking the poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Night‘ written by Robert Frost, we can create an example of prose by turning the poetry into prose. It might look like this. “These woods look beautiful contrasted with the setting dark and as one looks out into the depths of the trees, the feeling to stay a little longer is evident. However, there are things I need to do and much distance I need to cover before I can relax for the evening.“
- Take a look at this extract from the novel David Copperfield written by Charles Dickens, this is an example of prose. “Whether I will turn out to be my own hero or should that station be held by someone else, these pages will show.“
- When we talk in a casual sense, we are using prose. An example might be a conversation as follows. “Hi, how are you?” “I’m good to thank you, how are you?“
- In his famous speech, Nelson Mandela uses prose to deliver his message, look at the following extract. “You will notice that there isn’t an easy walk to freedom and a lot of us will need to go through the valley of the shadow of death many times before we can reach our goal.“
- In works of non-fiction, we see many examples of prose, look at the following sentences. “The largest animal on earth is the blue whale.” “Russia is the largest country by landmass but China takes the lead when it comes to population.“
Prose is the main format of language that we see in our day to day lives, whether this be during a spoken conversation or when reading written works such as newspaper articles, stories, or books.
It is used by putting grammatically correct sentences together to form paragraphs and in some cases can be blended with poetry to create a fusion between the two types of language.