Difference Between Prose and Poetry

Main Difference – Prose vs Poetry

Literature can be categorized into two main classifications based on the structure of language. These two categories are known as prose and poetry. Prose is the language in its original and natural form, i.e., the language that is found in newspapers, textbooks, novels, etc. Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meaning. The main difference between prose and poetry is that prose is written naturally whereas poetry is written in a metrical structure.

This article describes,

1. What is a Prose? – The Structure, Style, Language Used, etc.

2. What is a Poetry? – The Structure, Style, Language Used, etc.

3. Comparison and Key Differences Between Prose and Poetry

Difference Between Prose and Poetry - infographic

What is Prose

Prose is a major form of literature; both fiction and nonfiction are included in prose. Novels, novellas, short stories, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, essays, travel books, academic essays, thesauruses, textbooks, etc. are all written in prose.

The language is grammatical in nature and consists of a natural flow of speech, instead of metrical structure. It is composed of full grammatical sentences, and these sentences are then grouped in paragraphs. The language used in nonfiction such as newspaper, textbooks, travel books, etc. are devoid of figures of speech, and other decorations and ideas are expressed in a direct and straightforward manner. The spoken language can also be classified as prose.

Since the spoken language has the characteristics of prose, many people find it easier to write prose than poetry. Another significant factor that contributes to this preference is the word limit in poetry; poets often use a limited number of words to express their ideas.

Difference Between Prose and Poetry

What is Poetry

Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meaning. Factors such as rhyme, rhythm, metric syllables, etc. are taken into account to create poetry. Poetry is normally used to express something in an artistic and aesthetic way.

However, the language of poetry is not as natural or free as prose. Poetic language tends to be more decorative and creative than the language used in prose;  attention is especially paid to sound and rhythm.

A poem is composed of lines; a line can be very long or as short as one word. A stanza is made up of several stanzas. Poems can be classified into different types depending on the structure of the stanzas. Free verse, blank verse, cinquain, diamante poems, etc. are some examples of these structures.

As mentioned above, poets use a limited number of words to express their ideas in poetry. This is why one line can be as short as one word. Sometimes it is difficult to understand the meaning of the poem by reading it only once or twice. An in-depth reading and analysis may be required to decipher the complete meaning.

Main Difference - Prose vs Poetry

Difference Between Prose and Poetry   


Prose: Prose is a form of literature that uses the language in its original and natural form.

Poetry: Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meaning.

Rhyme and Rhythm

Prose: Prose does not pay attention to rhyme and rhythm.

Poetry: Poetry pays attention to rhyme and rhythm; they are the essential components in a poem.


Prose: The writer usually has no word limit.

Poetry: Poets use a limited number of words.


Prose: The ideas are written in sentences; sentences are grouped into paragraphs.

Poetry: The ideas are written in lines; lines are grouped into stanzas.


Prose: The language is more natural and grammatical.

Poetry: The language is figurative and rhythmical.


Prose: Prose can generally be understood by reading once.

Poetry: More than one reading may be needed to understand the meaning of a poem.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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