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What Is Prose?
The Quick AnswerProse is the normal form of language. Prose contrasts with poetry or verse because prose is not made up of lines with deliberate rhythmic pattern or rhyme.
Unlike poetry, which often employs meter, rhyme, and other formal devices, prose utilizes a more flexible and fluid approach to convey meaning. It encompasses a wide range of styles, tones, and genres, enabling writers to adopt various narrative techniques, dialogues, descriptions, and character development to effectively engage readers in a coherent and narrative form of communication.
Table of Contents
- The Difference between Prose and Poetry
- The Difference between Prose and Prosaic Writing
- Examples of Prose
- Why Prose Is Important
- Printable Test
The Difference between Prose and PoetryProse 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:
The Difference between Prose and Prosaic WritingThe 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.)
Examples of Prose
- I'm not lying when I say a dog is full of love. I know from experience that a wet dog loves you the most. (This is prose.)
- The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state the dog is full of love.
I've also proved, by actual test,
A wet dog is the lovingest.
(US poet Ogden Nash)
Anastrophe (deliberately using the wrong word order)
- A stare long and threatening
Assonance (repeating vowel sounds in nearby words)
- The concept of mothering more overtly
Consonance (repeating consonant sounds in nearby words)
- Pick a lock and crack it.
Deliberate repetition (deliberately repeating ideas or words)
- I shall tell you, and you shall listen, and we shall agree.
Euphemisms (using agreeable words to replace offensive ones)
- He was so well oiled he lost his lunch. (He was so drunk he was sick.)
Logosglyphs (using words that look like what they represent)
- With eyes like pools (The word eyes looks like two eyes and a nose, and oo looks like two eyes.)
Metaphors (saying something is something else)
- The volcano spewed its flaming Earth sauce.
Onomatopoeia (using words that sound like what they represent)
- Don't growl at customers.
Oxymoron (using contradictory terms)
- Non-prosaic prose
Similes (describing something as being like something else)
- The British accepted her absence like Americans accept the missing full stop in "Dr Pepper".
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