Describing things in an essay is easier to do if you can command all five senses in bringing the picture to life in the reader’s mind. Your writing will be better and more interesting if you can do this. So how can you do that? Keep reading to learn about using all the senses in descriptive writing for your college paper.
Think about what things you will be describing in your homework and details you can use to make them seem real. For example, if you are writing about military history and submarines, you might describe the submarines as:
You do not need to use all 5 senses for each object or person. With our submarine example, I didn’t include taste because who wants to lick a submarine? There are some senses that don’t make sense depending on what you are describing.
What is your topic for this assignment? You should brainstorm some places, things and people related to your research and then think about what senses you can use to describe them. Making a mind map is very useful for this purpose. Start by writing your main topic in the middle of a piece of paper, and circle it. Then write related topics or sensory details around it, circling them and joining them to the main topic with a line. Eventually, you will have all these bubbles and words around the main word that can help you generate your thoughts about the topic.
It’s obvious that you need to describe how things look and how you see them, but too often students rely on this alone. While sight is important, make sure you balance the other ones.
Smell is the one your memory holds onto the longest—you can remember your grandmother’s apple pie or summers during your childhood of freshly mowed grass very easily. As for sound, very few things are truly silent and even describing the lack of sound can be interesting. Using onomatopoeias is fun; these are words that sound like the actual sound they make, such as crash! Then there’s taste: this is usually only used when food is being described. The sense of touch can make things painful or pleasurable, so use the right word for your writing’s context.
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