Prose comes from the Latin prosa which means "straightforward." Prose can be written or spoken and has no formal metrical structure. It is basically ordinary language — the way people speak. Explore prose examples in nonfiction, comedy, fiction, plays, and more.
When it comes to prose in nonfiction, it's based on fact. These writings can be found in newspapers, magazines, history books, and encyclopedias. Factual prose can typically be identified by its direct presentation and lack of literary devices. Think "nothing but the facts, ma'am" when you are talking about nonfiction prose.
- Some of the exports of Brazil are soybeans, sugar, orange juice, and iron ore.
- The cheetah is the fastest land animal.
- Tomorrow, we have a sixty percent chance of snow with a high temperature around 34 degrees.
- Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan were married in 1988.
- The population of Rome was 600,000 in 1900 and 3,500,000 in 1990.
- The planets of our solar system are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
- A family trust is formed in order to pass assets to children and other heirs.
The prose in novels is part of fictional prose written in narrative form. They are either entirely fictional or include elements of factual events mixed with imaginary scenarios. Additionally, prose in novels makes heavy use of literary devices like imagery.
- "Call me Ishmael." Moby Dick - Herman Melville
- "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
- "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 1984 - George Orwell
- "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness." A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
- "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
- "You better not never tell nobody but God." The Color Purple - Alice Walker
- "In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit." - The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
- "One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing." - The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
When it comes to prose in plays, it's a form of dramatic fiction delivered by characters on stage. The different characters recite the prose, acting out the work. It's written in the form of a script that lays out the dialogue for each character.
- "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." As You Like It - Shakespeare
- "You can be young without money, but you can't be old without it." - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Tennessee Williams
- "My love is like a stone tied round my neck; it's dragging me down to the bottom; but I love my stone. I can't live without it." - The Cherry Orchard - Anton Chekhov
- “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
- “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?” Our Town - Thorton Wilder
Speech prose mixes non-fictional topics with emotional effects and heightened imagery to express the speaker's thoughts. Speeches are delivered on a stage and may or may not be written down. You can recognize prose in speeches by their call to action and persuasive style.
- "As for the marriage laws, they are due for a sweeping reform, and an excellent beginning would be to wipe the existing ones off the books." - Shirley Chisholm
- "You can see that there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow (of death) again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires." - Nelson Mandela
- "The poor are very great people. They can teach us so many beautiful things." - Mother Teresa
- "I say to the House as I said to ministers who have joined this government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." - Sir Winston Churchill
- "The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
When you think of prose in movies, they are the same as prose in plays. However, the difference is prose in movies are recorded rather than played out on a stage. However, you'll still find yourself pulled into dramatic and eventful situations just like you would with a play.
- "My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump
- "There are many things my father taught me here in this room. He taught me, 'keep your friends close, but your enemies closer'." - The Godfather: Part II
- "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope." - Star Wars: Episode IV
- "If the good Lord had intended us to walk, he wouldn't have invented roller skates." - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
- "You are a TOY! You aren't the real Buzz Lightyear. You're - you're an action figure. You are a child's plaything." - Toy Story
- "You know what the difference is between you and me? I make this look GOOD." - Men in Black
- "He's a man from outer space and we're taking him to his spaceship." - E.T.
The prose in comedy is dramatic work meant to get a laugh out of you. It uses comedic events, satirical tone and amusing situations to make people happy. The prose in comedy might be performed on a stage by a comedian or part of a novel or movie. Whether it makes you laugh is the key to recognizing prose in comedy.
- "Never have more children than you have car windows." - Erma Bombeck
- "Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons." - Woody Allen
- "Chaos in the midst of chaos isn't funny, but chaos in the midst of order is." - Steve Martin
- "You see much more of your children once they leave home." - Lucille Ball
- "I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." - Will Rogers
- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." - Mark Twain
Prose examples, as you can see, are found in all different types of literature and entertainment. And you might find all different types of prose in one work. Now that you have a clear grasp of prose, explore examples of poetry dramas.