Difference Between Prose vs Poetry

Difference Between Prose vs Poetry

Though many get confused over the meaning of prose and poetry, there are some easy-to-spot differences between them. Prose is usually deemed to be the “normal” way to convey spoken or written language with and it has no “criteria.” Poetry differs by being an exact and immediately recognisable language format with defining features.

The difference between prose and poetry isn’t as confusing as many may think, but there are quite a few details that set them apart. Let’s break down what the exact definition of each word is, as this will benefit your individual understanding of them.

Definition of Prose

Prose is: “A normal way to write or speak a language without using any structure.”

Many view this as the “normal” way of presenting a language, whether we’re presenting it via writing or speaking it. When we say that there is no metrical structure, we mean that prose doesn’t feature any criteria by which it must necessarily follow. There’s nothing you can use to immediately identify it with.

When we’re looking at prose vs poetry, you’ll notice when reading the latter that you have rhyming elements and line breaks. These features wouldn’t exist in any instance where we were presenting something utilising prose. The moment these specific elements (rhyming and line breaks) come into play, we’re then dealing with poetry. Let’s delve further into what poetry is to help better your understanding.

Definition of Poetry

Poetry is: “Language being used to convey feelings and thoughts, using a set structure including rhythm and rhyming words.”

So, the difference between prose and poetry largely lies is in structure. In fact, it’s through using any form or structure whatsoever that we immediately stop talking about something language-based from being in prose. In this instance, the structure that is being put in place is specifically the structure of poetry.

Through weaving in the elements described in the above definition, we’re turning prose into poetry by giving it the defining characteristics of a traditional poem and poetry as a genre.

We’re going to provide you with an easy to read table shortly that’ll present the main differences at play in this word debate, but there is a fairly easy way of looking at them both to separate them.

The difference between poetry and prose can be summed up as follows: “Structure will not be found within language that is communicated using prose, but there is a specific structure used to create anything that is communicated as poetry.” It’s a simple sentence, but it’s definitely an easy way of viewing them both that removes any element of confusion.

Main Differences Between Prose vs Poetry

So, what is the difference between prose and poetry in a nutshell? The following table will highlight everything you need to know.

Basis of ComparisonProsePoetry
StructureNo set structureHas a very set structure
CharacteristicsNo specific or defining characteristicsRhyming words, rhythm, and line breaks delivered expressively
CapitalsOn the first letter of the first word of any new sentenceWith every new verse, a capital is featured on the first word
Typical useExpressively speaking or writing languages in any formatUsed as a means of expressively conveying human emotions using language, via set form
ArrangementParagraphs usually get used for arrangementLines and stanzas are used for arrangement

The above information lays out every major key difference you could ever need to know to help you separate these words from one another effectively.

Difference Between Prose and Poetry: Conclusion

We hope that after reading this article, you now feel well properly equipped to differentiate these words from one another. Just remember that anything you read or hear spoken as part of normal, everyday life is likely to be formed using prose.

Anything that features rhyming words and lines is almost definitely going to be poetry. Should you get lost at any point, head back to the previous section for a quick refresh and overview to jog your memory again.