Klear wrote:gmalivuk wrote:I wasn't pointing out a mere technicality, I meant that that's what the word means so I don't actually know what was being said.
That's what it technically means, yeah. It's also often used as a shorthand for fiction that is neither poetry, nor drama.
It basically means "normal people-talking"... as opposed to other specialised forms of writing. In literature, as you say, it basically means "not poetry" or such things... In maths/physics, it mostly means "not symbols and formulae"... eg saying "it was 3 metres away" instead of "s = 3m". Look at a mathematical proof, or a scientific argument, or whatnot, and you have patches of symbolic manipulation and calculations, and tables of results... but all the other words around them are prose. The formula can tell you that E=mc2, but it's the prose that tells you what E, m and c are, and why you should care that these things are equal.
The point is that dismissing a term as "only useful in prose" isn't that strong... because prose is a significant part of, and often the most interesting part of, pretty much anything.
(Now, to be fair, I get the impression that Neil was being facetious with that comment... but I can't tell for 100% sure...)