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Prose is the ordinary form of written language. The word "prose" is derived from the Latin word prosa, which literally translates to "straightforward". Prose is adopted for the discussion of facts and topical reading, as it is often articulated in free form writing style. Thus, it may be used for books, newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, broadcast media, films, letters, history, philosophy, biography, and many other forms of communication.

Poetry and prose

Prose lacks the formal structure of meter or rhyme which is typical of poetry; instead it is composed of full sentences, usually divided into paragraphs, and then smaller segments known as meta-paragraphs. Although some works of prose may happen to contain traces of metrical structure or versification, a conscious blend of the two forms of literature is known as a prose poem. Similarly, the poetry with less of the common rules and limitations of verse is known as free verse. Poetry is considered to be artificially developed ("The best words in the best order"), whereas prose is thought to be less constructed and more reflective of ordinary speech. Pierre de Ronsard, the Frenchmarker poet, said that his training as a poet had proved to him that prose and poetry were mortal enemies. In Molière's play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Monsieur Jourdain asks something to be written in neither verse nor prose. A philosophy master says to him, "Sir, there is no other way to express oneself than with prose or verse". Jourdain replies, "By my faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing anything about it, and I am much obliged to you for having taught me that."


  1. "prose." World Encyclopedia. 2005. Retrieved April 16, 2009 from

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