Introduction to prompt design

Prompt design is the process of creating prompts that elicit the desired response from language models. Writing well structured prompts is an essential part of ensuring accurate, high quality responses from a language model. This page introduces some basic concepts, strategies, and best practices to get you started in designing prompts.

What is a prompt

A prompt is a natural language request submitted to a language model to receive a response back. Prompts can contain questions, instructions, contextual information, examples, and partial input for the model to complete or continue. After the model receives a prompt, depending on the type of model being used, it can generate text, embeddings, code, images, videos, music, and more.

Prompt content types

Prompts can include one or more of the following types of content:

Input

An input is the text in the prompt that you want the model to provide a response for, and it's a required content type. Inputs can be a question that the model answers (question input), a task the model performs (task input), an entity the model operates on (entity input), or partial input that the model completes or continues (completion input).

Question input

A question input is a question that you ask the model that the model provides an answer to.

What's a good name for a flower shop that specializes in selling bouquets of
dried flowers?
  
1. Everlasting Blooms
2. Timeless Petals
3. Dried Flower Paradise
4. Eternal Flora
5. Vintage Floral Treasures
6. Rustic Bloom Gallery
7. Ardent Adornment
8. Potpourri Dreams
9. Dried Daisy Days
10. Forever Floral Art
  
Task input

A task input is a task that you want the model to perform. For example, you can tell the model to give you ideas or suggestions for something.

Give me a simple list of things that I must bring on a camping trip.
  
1. Tent
2. Sleeping bag
3. Sleeping pad
4. Pillow
5. Lantern or flashlight
6. Headlamp
7. Camp stove
8. Fuel for camp stove
9. Cooking pot and utensils
10. Food and water
11. First aid kit
12. Sunscreen
13. Insect repellent
14. Toiletries
15. Toilet paper
16. Fire starter
17. Map
18. Compass
19. Whistle
20. Multi-tool
21. Tarpaulin
22. Rope
23. Garbage bags
24. Camera
25. Binoculars
  
Entity input

An entity input is what the model performs an action on, such as classify or summarize. This type of input can benefit from the inclusion of instructions.

Classify the following items as [large, small].
Elephant
Mouse
Snail
  
- Elephant: Large
- Mouse: Small
- Snail: Small
  
Completion input

A completion input is text that the model is expected to complete or continue.

Some simple strategies for overcoming writer's block include
  
1. **Take a Break:** Step away from your writing for a bit. Go for a walk, listen to music, or do something else that helps you relax and clear your mind. When you come back to your writing, you may find that your thoughts are more organized and your ideas are flowing more easily.

2. **Change Your Environment:** Sometimes, a change of scenery can help spark creativity. Try writing in a different location, such as a coffee shop, a library, or a park. Being in a new environment can help you see things from a different perspective and break out of your writer's block.

3. **Freewrite or Brainstorm:** Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and just write whatever comes to mind, without worrying about grammar or spelling. This can help you get started and generate new ideas. You can also try brainstorming by writing down a list of words or phrases that are related to your topic. This can help you to free associate and come up with new ideas.

4. **Read or Research:** Sometimes, the best way to overcome writer's block is to read or research your topic. Reading can help you to learn new things and get inspired. Research can help you to gather information and facts that you can use in your writing.

5. **Talk to Someone:** Talk to a friend, family member, or writing partner about what you're struggling with. Sometimes, just talking about your ideas can help you to clarify them and see them from a new perspective. You can also ask for feedback and suggestions, which can help you to move forward with your writing.

6. **Try a Different Writing Style:** If you're stuck in a rut, try experimenting with a different writing style. For example, if you're used to writing formal essays, try writing a poem or a short story. Changing your writing style can help you to break out of your comfort zone and come up with new ideas.

7. **Set a Deadline:** Sometimes, the best way to overcome writer's block is to set a deadline for yourself. This can help you to focus and motivate yourself to finish your writing. When you know that you have a deadline, you're more likely to start writing and keep going until you're finished.
  

Context

Context can be one of the following:

  • Instructions that specify how the model should behave.
  • Information that the model uses or references to generate a response.

Add contextual information in your prompt when you need to give information to the model, or restrict the boundaries of the responses to only what's within the prompt.

Marbles:
Color: red
Number: 12
Color: blue
Number: 28
Color: yellow
Number: 15
Color: green
Number: 17

How many green marbles are there?
  
There are 17 green marbles.
  

Examples

Examples are input-output pairs that you include in the prompt to give the model an example of an ideal response. Including examples in the prompt is an effective strategy for customizing the response format.

Classify the following.
Options:
- red wine
- white wine

Text: Chardonnay
The answer is: white wine
Text: Cabernet
The answer is: red wine
Text: Moscato
The answer is: white wine

Text: Riesling
The answer is:
  
white wine
  

What's next