A Creative Guide to Prose in Writing

What is prose? That’s the first question that comes to mind when trying to write spoken language in its ordinary form.

Prose is a term used to describe any written work following a basic grammatical framework. Sometimes a single sentence has the power to evoke a particular mood and propel you into the story. Yet many writers are unsure how to articulate that feeling into a cohesive line and description.

So, what is prose, and how does it function in writing? Here’s a creative guide to help you understand in detail.

What Is Prose?

Prose is a written language with natural flow and patterns inherent in regular speech. It is a type of writing that does not adhere to a specific rhyme, structure, or meter pattern. It uses common grammatical structures and arranges ideas in a simplistic manner. Prose avoids creative and aesthetic styles of writing seen in poetry or song lyrics.

Examples of prose include books, standard dialogues, news stories, and more. Prose is different from poetry in that it employs line breaks and has a meter that defies conventional grammatical norms.

Now that we’ve addressed the question: what is prose? Let’s explore some of its functions.

What Is the Function of Prose in Writing?

Prose allows writers to express themselves freely and creatively. The purpose of prose is to add and modify the meaning of the piece and create a fluid, expressive narrative for the reader.

It usually uses descriptive language to concretely explain something abstract or intangible. Prose can also help convey background information about the story’s characters, setting, and time.

It’s a way to transition the audience and provide a lasting impression of the text, making them want more.

Sticks of purple flowers and an ink pen placed on a paper.
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Types of Prose in Writing

More often than not, writers follow some essential grammatical rules in writing prose. What is prose can sometimes be difficult to define as it is divided into different categories. There are four different forms of prose, each focusing on the mechanics or emotions of what we’re saying.

1. Nonfictional prose

Nonfictional prose is a form of writing that usually presents events and activities in factual, objective terms.

Nonfictional prose is not expressive and is generally free of opinion and authorial interpretation. It is descriptive, neutral, or factual. A nonfiction writer is typically concerned with truth, accuracy, and conveying information clearly.

2. Fictional prose

This type of prose tells a story based on imagination, using made-up characters and events.

It’s very flexible in that the author isn’t limited by the laws of science, the passage of time, or the bounds of real life. They are free to create while offering a uniquely original experience.

3. Heroic prose

Heroic prose uses a pattern of heroism to depict stories of valor and adventure. These stories are usually meant to be recited orally.

This is prose in which there is a clear action or scene that takes place from the protagonist’s point of view. It also has a fast-paced and action-filled story.

4. Prose poetry

Certain poetic elements are used in prose poetry to give the composition a lyrical or artistic worth. Prose poetry is a way to express the emotions and feelings of the author.

It is a way to convey the inner workings of your heart through written words. Preserving the prose structure, this type of writing delivers a stronger emotional impact on the readers.


The prose in writing does not follow one particular type. It can refer to everything from the narrative and argumentative to journalistic pieces and even poetry.

That being said, there are a few key types that are recognized and used most often. These include nonfictional prose, fictional prose, and heroic prose.

Prose poetry is also a form of prose in writing which is typically used in short poems and has rhyme. This article will enhance your understanding of what prose is and how it functions.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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