Difference Between Stanza and Verse

Main Difference – Stanza vs Verse

Stanza and verse and two terms that are often associated with poetry. Just as the structure of prose consists of sentences and paragraphs, poetry is structured into lines and stanzas. Stanza is a group of lines in a poem. The term verse has many meanings in poetry; verse can refer to a single metrical line, stanza or the poem itself. This is the main difference between stanza and verse.

What is a Stanza

A stanza is a group of lines in a poem. Stanza in a poem is equivalent to a paragraph in prose. It is set apart from the other lines by a double space or by different indentation. In some poems, stanzas have a regular meter and rhyme. A poem can have any number of stanzas, and the number of lines in a stanza depends on the poet’s wishes and the structure of the poem. Poems can be grouped into different categories based on the number of lines they have.

Couplet consists of two rhyming lines.

Example :

 “A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring”

(Alexander Pope’s Little Learning)

Tercet is a stanza of three lines. They usually follow the rhyming pattern ABA or AAA.


“He clasps the crag with crooked hands:

Close to the sun it lonely lands,

Ringed with the azure world, it stands..”

(Alfred Lord Tennyson’s The Eagle)

Quatrain is a stanza of four lines. The rhyming patterns usually include AAAA, AABB, ABBA, or ABAB


“How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,

Stolen on his wing my three and twentieth year!

My hasting days fly on with full career,

But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th.”

(John Milton’s On His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-Three)

Quintain, also referred to as cinquain consists of five lines.



With faint dry sound,

Like steps of passing ghosts,

The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees

And fall.”

(Crapsey’s November Night)Difference Between Stanza and Verse

What is a Verse

The term verse can give several meanings in poetry. Formally, a verse is a single metrical line in a poem. Nevertheless, in common usage, it represents any division or grouping of words in a poem. The term verse can refer to a line, verse or the poem itself.

Often we use the term verse in contrast with prose, to refer to poetry. Verse can be grouped into three main categories: rhymed verse, free verse, and blank verse. Rhymed verses have a metrical form that rhymes throughout the poem. Blank verse is written in iambic pentameter, but it has no rhyme. Free verse has no meter and no rhyme.

Difference Between Stanza and Verse


Stanza refers to a group of lines, set apart from the other lines by a double space or by different indentation.

Verse can refer to a single metrical line, a stanza or poetry(as opposed to prose).


Stanza can be categorized into groups based on the number of lines it contains.

Verse can be categorized into groups based on rhyme and meter.


Stanza is the opposite of paragraph.

Verse is considered to be the opposite of prose.Difference Between Stanza and Verse -infographic

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