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For the Wikipedia guideline on prose, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style.

Prose is the ordinary form of the written (or spoken) language.[1][2] Not poetry, and not any special format such as lists or tables. In writing, it is without special rhythm, and is similar to everyday communication. That makes the most important distinction with poetry, and with theatrical works such as plays.

The word prose comes from the Latin prosa, meaning straightforward, hence the term "prosaic". Prose writing is usually adopted for the description of facts or the discussion of whatever one's thoughts are, incorporated in free flowing speech. It may be used for newspapers, novels, magazines, encyclopedias, broadcast media, letters, stories, history, philosophy, biography, and many other forms of media.

Prose generally has no formal structure, like meter or rhyme, that is often found in poetry. Therefore it is used to describe literature which is non-poetic, and non-theatrical. There is, however, a blend of the two forms of literature is known as prose poetry.


  1. Concise Oxford Dictionary.
  2. "Prose". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2012-05-27.