What is simple prose


As prose are used to denote texts and utterances that are neither by verse, rhyme nor rhythm (Meter) are bound. Hence the prose is also called unbound speech designated. It includes everyday language, but also the artistically designed form in literature (Art prose). A special form that stands between bound and unbound speech are the free rhythms.


The technical term is derived from Latin prosa oratio from what is roughly with straightforward speech translates. As a result, the translation already reveals what is fundamentally about: namely, a form of speech that is not based on a rule curved and so in some way bound becomes.

But even if prose is differentiated from poetry in that it is not bound in verse, rhyme or metra, it has the opportunity to be artistic. She thus has the ability to be poetic and through style, melody, Imagery, rhythm and Choice of words. However, it is not bound by it!

Originally the term was used for scientific writings and thus meant any written fixation that was not a kind of poetry. This means that texts were considered prose that had historical, scientific and philosophical content or were merely notes.

In return, the poetry was written in verse and was mainly intended for oral presentation. This very general limitation lasted well into the 18th century. Later the term became a collective term for all forms of speech that could not be called poetry.

In the ancient became strictly between the bound speech (Epic, poetry, drama) as a form of poetry and an expedient and dedicated presentation in prose (Philosophy, history). It was therefore not told in prose, which is why it was used as a form of representation much later than the bound speech for narration.

Although there are isolated prose works in the individual literary epochs, But only with the beginning of the modern era did the clear triumph of prose begin, which with the emergence of a new narrative art, namely the novel, very quickly became a poetically equal means of expression and gave birth to numerous literary genres (Novel, story, saga, memoir or short stories etc.).

Note: Almost all types of text that cannot be assigned to poetry can be included under the term, but in linguistic usage the term usually means the literary genre of the epic and primarily the novel as the main epic medium as well as the short story (short prose).

Structure of prose

As described, it differs from the poem, i.e. the lyric, mainly in that it does not follow a fixed linguistic scheme. Prose can indeed have poetic traits, but the essential characteristic is its freedom. Now let's look at its structure.

In contrast to poetry, texts of this kind follow a grammatical norm. This means that the works basically follow the rules of grammar, even if there are of course exceptions. However, there are no further restrictions, so the language is largely free.

Nevertheless, poetic elements can be used in the prose text. Some texts are based on a certain sequence of elevations and depressions, metric structures or other elements of verse. A very close approximation is called a prose poem.

Such a poem has no defining formal elements such as verses or end rhymes, but can otherwise draw all available lyrical stops (Internal rhymes, assonances; i.e. stylistic devices) and is thus the lyrical processing of an epic material in rhythmic, sonorous and pictorial prose.

The prose poem therefore stands between prose and free rhythms. Free rhythms are unbound verses with any number of syllables and without a continuous meter as well as different numbers of uplifts and downgrades. The verses do not have to be in stanzas, even if groups of verses are conceivable. Free rhythms are characterized by recurring rhythms.

Utility and literary prose

As has been seen, any text that does not count as poetry can be considered prose. Within this rather simple limitation, a distinction is made between two main types of prose: utility prose and literary prose.

Utility prose, including utility literature, is text that has been written for a specific purpose and is bound to it. As such, we know, for example, the speech, the conversation, the letter or the article as well as the factual text (e.g. legal texts or instructions for use)

Literary prose means texts that are commonly referred to as narratives or stories. It is characterized by its artistic value and, in addition, consciously uses poetic design tools in terms of choice of words, sentence structure, linguistic melody, imagery and linguistic rhythm.

Brief overview: The most important things about prose at a glance
  • All texts that cannot be assigned to poetry are commonly referred to as prose. Accordingly, this includes all epic and colloquial literary texts. A distinction must be made between everyday language and art prose.
  • The main difference here is that the lyric is mostly written in bound speech and structures such as meter, rhyme and rhythm are subordinate, whereas prose texts appear unbound and only follow grammatical rules.
  • The free rhythms and also the prose poem can be classified between these two poles. Both forms are basically based on elements of both areas and make use of these. It is sometimes difficult to draw a clear line.

  • Note: The adjective “prosaic” can seem misleading. It is also the educational expression for “sober, factual, dry” and “without imagination”. Hence, the context needs to be checked to be sure that the prose is meant.