What are Visual Sensory Images? | Learning Concept
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Sensory Detail

Concept: Visual Senses


Sensory details use the five senses (sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell) to add depth to your writing.

  • They are mostly used in narratives; however, they can be used in various types of writing.
  • These are easy to remember and powerful as it allows the reader to see, hear, smell, taste, or feel the words of the character.
  • Visual sensory includes pictures, images, diagrams, maps and movies.

Five Senses Used in Sensory Details


Visual Senses

This chapter will focus on visual sensory details only.

  • Visual sensory details show the location of the story or the character’s surroundings.
  • It is used in the form of words to appeal to the sense of sight.
  • It helps the reader to visualise the story and experience the story as if they were in the character’s place.
  • Physical attributes of visual imagery are colour, shape, size, shadows, lightness and darkness, and shade are all part of visual imagery.


Visual Sensory Type Sentence Visual Imagery Added Explanation
Appearance The clothes were on the floor. The dirty clothes were piled up in the corner of the room. Explaining that the clothes were ‘dirty’ and they were lying in the ‘corner’ of the room helps the reader visualise what the writer wants to show the readers.
Size The ant climbed the tree. The tiny ant climbed the tall tree. Explaining that the ant is ‘tiny’ and the tree is ‘tall’ helps the reader visualise what the writer says.
Colour She is wearing a beautiful dress. She is wearing a beautiful golden yellow dress. The words ‘golden yellow’ helps the reader to visualise the colour of the dress.

Examples of Visual Imagery in English Literature:

Excerpts from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ... And then one fine morning —

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

  • In this excerpt, readers can picture the future through the visual imagery of the green light.
  • Readers can imagine themselves running faster and stretching out their arms as the great Gatsby did.
  • Readers can also visualise that one fine morning we move on like a motion of a boat that is struggling against a current.

Some Sight Words:

Check the below table to find some common sight words.

round dull ugly tall
giant vivid tiny shiny
pretty dim untidy wavy
clear grand brown neat


  1. Do not fill the text with excess sight words.
  2. Example:

    Notice the difference between the two sentences. Too much usage of sight words can confuse the readers or even create an excess of information, making it difficult to remember.

    The boy was running, sweating, gasping for breath, in torn clothes and wearing slippers.

    The boy was running very fast in shabby clothes and slippers.

  3. Do not use opposite sight words in a text.
  4. Example:

    Sailesh is a tiny giant man.

    The words ‘tiny’ and ‘giant’ are opposite words in the above sentence. Sailesh cannot be both giant and tiny at the same time. Either he is tiny or giant, so only one descriptive word can be used.

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