Five Senses: Combining the Senses

We have now discussed all of the five senses and examined some of the reasons why the senses are an important part of our writing. We also know that it is important for us to practice our use of the five senses in writing and be aware of when we are using them (as well as when we are not, but perhaps should). Furthermore, we have discussed with of the senses are seen as ‘easier’ to write about and so more commonly found in writing, as well as the less common ones that we should particularly try to include.

If you have missed one of the posts or would like to read them again, then we have discussed sight, sound (or hearing), smell, and touch and taste in four different posts this month. Today, let’s think about combining these senses within our writing.

Now, first consider this: that we do not want to confound our readers with a sense overload. If there are too many sounds bombarding us at once, then we may be unable to discern one from the next. Equally, if there are too many things to see, you might not know where to look. Too many smells may become mingled together, and so on. The same applies to the senses in your writing.

When you are combining the senses, you should think about which senses best apply to what you are writing about, as well as which go together. Smell and taste are a good combination, as are sight and touch, and touch and taste. If you want to be adventurous, try a harder combination like sound and touch. Can you link them together with a strong theme?

Now, think of words that you can use that connect your chosen senses with one another. You can use those powerful words that you have been practising to describe each sense, but it is also a good idea to tie them together with some connecting words. This will be easier if you have selected senses that have a strong link already. For instance, ‘sweet’ can imply smell and taste, ‘leather’ can imply sight and touch, ‘tender’ might imply touch and taste. For sound and touch, you could try a word such as ‘heavy’ – heavy music and heavy objects, for instance.

We can therefore see that we do not need to stick only to one sense when we are using the five senses in our writing. But we can also see that too many senses, or the wrong combination of senses, can make our writing feel muddled. It’s fun to try to mix them up. Why don’t you have a go?

This month’s theme is THE FIVE SENSES. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of the five senses, then please post a link in the comments or email me on with the subject: Five Senses.


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