Use of five senses - Orchids The International School
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ORCHIDS The International School

Descriptive Writing Skills II

Concept: Use of five senses

What is Descriptive Writing?

Descriptive writing is a literary tool in which the writer uses details to explain an incident or a picture that he or she has confronted with their words. It provides the readers with the description of people, places, things, and events in an effective way that can create a clear impression for the reader.

Why is the use of the five senses in descriptive writing important?

When a writer uses the five senses in his writing, the reader is able to visualize an unknown idea. This is better achieved with the use of sensory details that include seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. This approach will help you to communicate clearly and thoughtfully with your readers and make your writing more engaging for them.


Let’s look at a few points about the use of the five senses can make your writing more interesting.

  • It helps in immersing readers into the stories and the scenes.
  • It establishes the connection between the subject and the reader on a deep psychological level.
  • It is a very powerful way to involve the readers in the action and make them empathize with the characters.
  • It is useful when you’re trying to convey unique imagery or something that’s altogether alien to the reader.

Now let us find more about how the five senses help in describing:

Before we discuss how useful the five senses are in descriptive writing let’s look at what the five sensory organs are:

  1. Eyes
  2. Ears
  3. Touch
  4. Nose
  5. Taste buds

The Five Sensory Detail

The process of using the senses of sight, taste, touch, taste, and smell in our writing is to demonstrate realistic images in a reader’s mind.

A) Sight:

The most important of all senses is sight. What we see we should take note of appearance like colors, size, shape, etc. One needs to specify the details and use them properly to describe the topic. The unique and unusual things help in creating more impact while describing visuals.

B) Taste:

The taste is also an important detail that will give you an idea of how something tastes. We are familiar with the taste of fruits, vegetables, and spices but when it comes to a description, it is not easy. The taste too sometimes isn’t consistent or even it may not resemble any other thing.

C) Touch:

Often we don’t pay attention to how something feels by touch. When observed carefully, we analyze that every surface feels different at touch. Whether it is the petal of flowers or it is a concrete wall, or even if it is boiling water, we know the difference between texture and temperature.

D) Smell:

Another important sense is smell. There are people around whom we have been seeing since childhood, and we can easily recognize them by their smell. Even the rooms we stay in have their own smell, which characterizes the preference of the people living in them. Words relating to smell give you a better idea of the smell of the place.

For example, the smell of the wet earth when it has just rained.

E) Sound:

Last but not least is the sense of sound that makes us aware of the ambience around us, irrespective of whether the source of sound is an animate or inanimate object. For instance, the shouting of the vegetable vendors or the honking of vehicles tells us that a marketplace can be noisy.

Now let us observe how we describe something by our five senses.


Food: Chili Fish Curry

SIGHT: Small pieces of fish, smooth and brownish in colour, pieces of capsicum and onion dipped in gravy, fumes coming out of the dish if the food is hot.


SMELL: The characteristic smell of fried fish, the mouthwatering smell of tomato, onion, and capsicum together, and a bit of vinegar smell are also common.

SOUND: There is some sizzling sound while frying along with some click, cracking, busting sound initially.


TASTE: The taste will lean towards chilly and salty, reminding you of the main spices along with onion and garlic.

TOUCH: It can be very hot, soft, and oily to touch as well.

Common Mistake:

  • Avoid using an excessive amount of details that include the five senses in your writing. Add a simple description and use an appropriate amount of sensory details so that they can supply enough information in your descriptive writing.
  • All of the five senses need not be used at once.
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