Use of Five Senses - Orchids
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Descriptive Writing Skills

Use of Five Senses in Descriptive Writing

One of the crucial tasks of a piece of descriptive writing is to appeal to all five senses. The picture that a story paints in a reader's mind must include how things look, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Students will learn how using the five senses in their writing will help it to come to life.

This learning concept covers the following:

  • Usage of five senses in English descriptive writing with suitable examples.
  • Common mistakes that could occur while using them to write.
  • Importance of using sensory words in a descriptive piece.

All the concepts of English grammar in this website have illustrations, examples, mindmaps. Students can check their topic-related skills by solving the worksheet for class 4. Download the descriptive writing worksheets and check the solutions provided in PDF format.

Good descriptive writing must appeal to the five senses. The "picture" that the story paints in a reader's mind should be how things look, sound, taste, smell, and touch
Descriptive writing may also paint pictures of the feelings of the person, place or thing.

Descriptive Writing with five senses chart

Good descriptive writing often makes use of figurative languages such as similes and metaphors to help describe more about the setting or characters.
Use adjectives and nouns and strong action verbs to give life to the story.
While describing about a person, you can start with physical features or how that person looks. It can be followed by how that person feels, thinks, and acts.

Examples:

Take a look at the points below to describe a character:

  • His spiky hair
  • The scar on his face below the eye that was not always visible
  • His neat fingernails
  • His rugged jeans

How to Use Five Senses in Descriptive Writing?

Let us have a look with the help of example on how to use five senses in descriptive writing.

A.Sight

Sight is the most often used sense in descriptive writing. It is to write about what you see.

B.Hearing

Loud, yell, soft, angry, whisper, and other adjectives are used for sound.

C.Smell

Sense of smell is different for each of us. Words like pungent and stink are ideal to use. It is very personal. For example, “The alley had a pungent smell, it was a torture to the nose.”

D.Touch

The way things feel is what the sense of touch is all about. Like the other senses, it can be personal: “It felt nostalgic.”

E.Taste

Taste is again something very personal. For example, “I savoured each bite of the handmade bread.”

Examples:

Let us have a look at how you can include the five senses in a description of the park.

  1. Sight: leaves gently falling from the trees, children playing, some people exercising or jogging or cycling, some aged people taking a leisurely stroll.
    Sense of sight used in writing example
  2. Smell: the smell of fresh air, the fragrance of fresh flowers
    Sense of smell used in writing example
  3. Sound: leaves rustling in the breeze, the splashing of a fountain, birds chirping, people chattering.
    Sense of sound used in writing example
  4. Taste: sweet, ice cream, savoury
    Sense of taste used in writing example
  5. Touch: dusty tracks , the gentle breeze touching your face, tough tree trunks.
    Sense of touch used in writing example

Common Mistakes:

  1. Do not use too much details indicating five senses in descriptive writing. It can overwhelm the reader. Use them appropriately. Suitable usage of five senses can create a powerful effect.
  2. The sense of touch refers to how we feel things. However, texture is major part of it. Touch also includes like experiencing hot or cold temperatures, pleasure or pain.
  3. Remember that you can use onomatopoeia to capture the sound of a scene. For instance, The splash of a frog plunging into a pond, the whoosh of a speeding car etc. However too much of it is not recommended. You can use it carefully.

Exceptions:

Authors often mix up the sensory words. For example, you can describe the tangy taste of a fruit as bright (a sight description) or the midnight as a whimper (a sound description).

Mind map for usage of five senses in descriptive writing
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