Prose: What It Is and How to Use It

Do you know what prose is? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on prose, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What is prose?

According to Literary Devices, prose is a communicative style that sounds natural and uses grammatical structure. Prose does not use a rhythmic structure that does not mimic ordinary speech such as verse or poetry, and uses a variety of rhythm with greater irregularity. Prose poetry uses elements of prose while adding in poetic techniques. This might include imagery, heightened emotional content, high frequency of metaphors, or juxtapositions. There are many different types of pose that follow a natural flow of speech and do not have a formal metrical structure. These include fictional prose, nonfictional prose, lectures, newspaper articles, conversational speech, nonfictional writing, fairy tales, human conversation, liturgy, and other such literary medium. Prose follows regular grammatical conventions such as using a modifier. 

The word prose comes from the Latin prosa oratio which means direct speech or straightforward. Therefore, the word prosaic has come to mean dull and commonplace discourse. According to Dictionary, the Latin prōsa (ōrātiō) means straightforward, is the feminine of prōsus and prōrsus, a contraction of prōversus, and the past participle of prōvertere meaning to turn forward. You can see this type of writing in The Catcher in the Rye

What are examples of prose?

prose can be used in many different contexts in the English language. Trying to use a word or literary technique in a sentence is one of the best ways to memorize what it is, but you can also try making flashcards or quizzes that test your knowledge. Try using this term of the day in a sentence today! Below are a couple of examples of prose from Literary Devices that can help get you started incorporating this tool into your everyday use. 

  • The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner; and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small—Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton. In vapid listlessness I leant my head against the window, and continued spelling over Catherine Earnshaw—Heathcliff—Linton, till my eyes closed; but they had not rested five minutes when a glare of white letters started from the dark, as vivid as spectres—the air swarmed with Catherines; and rousing myself to dispel the obtrusive name, I discovered my candle wick reclining on one of the antique volumes, and perfuming the place with an odour of roasted calf-skin. – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Lighthouse was then a silvery, misty-looking tower with a yellow eye, that opened suddenly, and softly in the evening. Now—James looked at the Lighthouse. He could see the white-washed rocks; the tower, stark and straight; he could see that it was barred with black and white; he could see windows in it; he could even see washing spread on the rocks to dry. So that was the Lighthouse, was it? No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing. The other Lighthouse was true too. – To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • I shall never be fool enough to turn knight-errant. For I see quite well that it’s not the fashion now to do as they did in the olden days when they say those famous knights roamed the world. – Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantea
  • And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.” – “Be Drunk” by Charles Baudelaire
  • Today, I gave the network administrator temporary access to my computer with a CAPTCHA privacy pass. He did an enti-virus scan to make sure I had not downloaded any malware in the web property I got from the Chrome Web Store. He installed Cloudflare Ray ID. 
  • “I never know you was so brave, Jim,” she went on comfortingly. “You is just like big mans; you wait for him lift his head and then you go for him. Ain’t you feel scared a bit? Now we take that snake home and show everybody. Nobody ain’t seen in this kawn-tree so big snake like you kill.” – My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton. Do not think I am very much impressed by that as a boxing title, but it meant a lot to Cohn. He cared nothing for boxing, in fact he disliked it, but he learned it painfully and thoroughly to counteract the feeling of inferiority and shyness he had felt on being treated as a Jew at Princeton. – The Sun also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • I had to contact customer support for the online school. I could not access the lesson summary, flashcard set, or related study materials so I could track course progress in my math class. I needed unlimited access to my custom course on Pride and Prejudice as well so I could do good work and pass my exams.
  • When I was trying to write with the language of poetry, I could it difficult to think in such an artistic way. 

Overall, prose is naturalistic writing.


  1. Prose Definition & Meaning | Dictionary 
  2. Prose Examples and Definition | Literary Devices 
  3. prose: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense