How do you write such good prose

Prose: 3 Characteristics, 3 Forms & 6 Tips for Analysis

Prose is a term that you will have come across at one time or another during your school days. Because many popular text forms belong to this genre. How it expresses itself exactly and what you have to consider during the analysis, we explain to you here.

In contrast to many other forms of text, prose has no distinctive features, rhymes or verses. The only thing that distinguishes it is that it is completely unbound. What that means exactly and which texts are called prose, you will find out below.

Definition: what is prose

What is prose

The terms prose and Epic are often equated and used synonymously. But not every prose text falls into the epic genre. Because prose includes not only narrative literature, but also factual texts. It is characteristic that prose without formal rules gets by. In contrast to poetry, there are no verses, rhymes and no rhythm in prose. Thus the meter falls away.

This decisive criterion for a prose text comes from a time when especially scientific texts referred to as prose. This clearly distinguished them from poetry, which was the preferred form of representation for a long time. Until well into the 18th century, verses in particular were regarded as particularly valuable from a literary point of view. Only then did prose replace poetry with the novel as the most important genre. In the meantime, mainly prose works are relevant.

In general, colloquial language can also be referred to as prose. Both these and literary texts and factual texts belong to this genre. Translated, prose means "simple speech" and it is precisely this that distinguishes prose. Prose does not use artistic embellishments as it is not bound by any rules or forms of speech. However, prose can still artful be, for example, by captivating with choice of words, rhetorical means and style. However, these aspects do not have to be applied in prose texts. That leaves prose general unbound.

The term "prosaic“On the literary genre. He also describes a dry and sober presentation, although many prose texts are anything but dry. So you have to decide on a case-by-case basis which meaning is meant.

Typical prose stories are for example:

Features of prose

Features of prose

Although prose is primarily characterized by the fact that there are hardly any significant features, you can recognize it at a few points. Or because of the fact that characteristics of other genres are missing. The following characteristics distinguish prose texts.


Prose is by one free language marked, which is free of rules and stylistic devices. The texts are straightforward, so they do not have to adapt to any specific requirements. This is one of the reasons why scientific, philosophical and scientific texts were originally referred to as prose - in other words, above all texts that differ greatly from poetry and are more useful. Only later, with the advent of the novel, were narrative forms called prose.

Grammatical correctness

Prose texts do not have to adhere to any guidelines, but they still apply Rules of grammar. After all, the texts have to remain understandable. However, the following applies here: No rule without exception. In some cases grammatical correctness is irrelevant, for example with the stream of consciousness. Still, it can be prose.

Few restrictions

The most important characteristic of prose is that hardly any form-giving restrictions are present. There are neither meters nor rhymes and verses. However, there may be rhetorical means that create imagery and a certain melody. Such stylistic devices do not have to be used in prose.

Forms of prose

Forms of prose

Prose is not always clear. So it can overlap with other genres and encompass different genres. Various forms of prose emerge from this. We present a few here.

Short prose

Short prose is another term for epic short forms, which include novellas, short stories, fables, anecdotes, parables, fairy tales, legends, sagas and calendar stories. These texts usually only comprise a few pages and are distinguished from other forms of prose solely by their length.

Prose poem

In some cases, prose texts combined with lyrical features become. Then it is a prose poem. Stylistic devices appear in the text that are actually typical of poems, such as internal rhymes. However, there are neither end rhymes nor verses, so that the external form suggests more of a prose text. Typical of such a prose poem is a common rhythm and pictorial language.

Free rhythms

The free rhythms are also an intermediate form. There are verses here, but they have neither a fixed number of syllables nor a consistent meter. However, one is steady rhythm recognizable, which can be repeated in some text passages.

Analyze prose correctly

How you analyze prose

Even in your school days you have to deal extensively with prose texts and their analysis. You write text analyzes of passages from novels, short stories or factual texts. All of these are genres of prose. In the analysis, these texts can differ significantly. Of course, you have to look at short stories and fictional novels differently than factual texts. However, there are some points that you will find in most Text analysis should pay attention to.

This also includes the structure of your analysis. You always start with a general one introduction, a short one Table of contents and then guide with the help of a Interpretation hypothesis in the Bulk above. In this you go into both the formal aspects of the text and the general interpretation of the work. In the end, you summarize everything in one Conclusion together. You can find out exactly what you have to pay attention to in the individual steps in our article on epic.

Pay attention to rhetorical stylistic devices

Rhetorical stylistic devices play a special role in texts - regardless of whether you are analyzing a speech, a factual text or a short story. You can certain Make statements particularly clear, the Influence the sound of a text and Make facts clearer. Metaphors and comparisons in particular are popular stylistic devices. With them you promote a pictorial expression and present facts in more detail.

Other stylistic devices such as alliterations and anaphors tend to influence the sound of a text, but can also emphasize facts in this way. On the other hand, you can use rhetorical questions to stimulate thought. So stylistic devices can be specific Effects Generate in the text, even with factual texts. When analyzing your prose texts, you should definitely take the stylistic devices and their effects into account.

Write characterization

Characterization of the figures

In prose, characters often play the central role, in contrast to poetry, in which the lyrical self and its perceptions are in the foreground. How the Characters behave and how they relate to each other should also play a central role in your analysis. Such a characterization of the figures gives you information about the intention of the text itself.

This is particularly advantageous when analyzing novels, because here the individual characters are often described in more detail. Here you can specifically focus on the Figure constellation enter. Also consider what character traits make up the individual characters and how they act in certain situations. Differentiate between their actual actions and how the characters themselves are described. You can find out more about the novel analysis here. You can do without characterization in factual text analyzes.

Description of space and time

The description of space and time plays a crucial role, especially when analyzing a short story. Because in the short prose events are often summarized or described very extensively. Such descriptions determine that Narrative speed. You relate the narrated time to the narrative time.

If the narrated time is longer than the narrative time, there is one Time lapse. Because events were summarized. From one Timing is the talk when the narrative time corresponds to the narrated time. If the narrated time is shorter than the narrative time, there is one Time stretching in front. Then brief moments are described in such detail that it takes longer to read the description than the moment itself lasts. You should also do that Place of action and the Action period mention.

Determine the narrator

Narrator of the story

Narrative prose texts always have a narrator, but you should never confuse him with the author. Only a factual text is the personal opinion of the author. Otherwise the narrator is always fictitious and only serves to convey the story. It is practically the author's tool to illustrate his idea. A distinction is made between the He / she narrator, the authorial or omniscient staff or neutral can be, and that First-person narratorthat tells from the events or in retrospect.

Make an interpretation hypothesis

Whenever you analyze a text, you have to make an interpretation hypothesis. This is a Assumption of the basic message of a text or the author's intention. So you record what your first impression of the text is. In your analysis, you will use stylistic devices and text passages to explain whether your assumption is confirmed or not. You can find out more about the interpretation hypothesis here.

Interpret factual text

Factual texts also fall into the genre of prose. However, you have to analyze them differently than narrative (epic) texts. When analyzing factual texts, you mainly focus on the Author's intention a. His reasoning also plays a role. Try to understand the arguments of the author logically and pay particular attention to the stylistic devices he uses to support his arguments. Always relate all of your results to the author's intention to see his intentions with the text. We explain here what you should still pay attention to during the factual text analysis.

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