The form of written language that is not organized according to the formal patterns of verse; although it will have some sort of rhythm and some devices of repetition and balance, these are not governed by a regularly sustained formal arrangement, the significant unit being the sentence rather than the line. Some uses of the term include spoken language as well, but it is usually more helpful to maintain a distinction at least between written prose and everyday speech, if not formal oratory. Prose has as its minimum requirement some degree of continuous coherence beyond that of a mere list. The adjectives prosaic and prosy have a derogatory meaning of dullness and ordinarinesss; the neutral adjective is simply ‘prose’, as in ‘prose writings’.
Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism — Modern History (1700 to 1945).