English Sense Verbs - What They Are, How to Use Them

English sense verbs, also known as sensory verbs, are special verbs used with each of the five senses. Here list with each sense, and the sense verb that matches it:

Sensory Verbs List:

  • Sight – To see (sight)
  • Hearing – To hear (hearing)
  • Taste – To taste (taste)
  • Touch – To touch (touch)
  • Smell – To smell (smell)

Those are the 5 senses in English. Study the English sense verbs to greatly improve your English vocabulary.

Examples of Sense Verbs:

  • I see a blackbird outside my window.
  • I hear loud music from my neighbor’s house every Friday night.
  • Can you taste chili in this sauce?
  • He hurt his finger badly and didn’t want me to touch it.
  • She smelled smoke and knew the house was burning.

Grammar – How to Use English Sense Verbs:

We can combine sense verbs with adjectives to express our personal preferences, beliefs and feelings, for example:

  • I look older than I am.
  • Her white sauce tastes fantastic.
  • His new sweater feels soft against the skin.

We can also use sense verbs to express a similarity between two or more objects. For example:

  • John looks like my old boyfriend.
  • That cake tastes like ones my grandmother used to bake.
  • It feels cold here just as it did in Alaska.

Sense Verb Exercises and Examples:

Here is an extract from New Zealand writer’s Katherine Mansfield’s classic short story The Garden Party. See how many verbs of the senses you can find.

Only the tall fellow was left. He bent down, pinched a sprig of lavender, put his thumb and forefinger to his nose and smelled it. When Laura saw that gesture she forgot all about the karakas in her wonder at him caring for things like that – caring for the smell of lavender.

How many men that she knew would have done such a thing? Oh, how extraordinarily nice workmen were, she thought. Why couldn’t she have workmen for her friends rather than the silly boys she danced with and who came to Sunday night supper? She would get on much better with men like these.

It’s all their fault, she decided, as the tall fellow drew something on the back of an envelope, something that was to be looped up or left to hang, of these absurd class distinctions. Well, for her part, she didn’t feel them. Not a bit, not an atom … And now there came the chock-chock of wooden hammers.

Some one whistled, some one sang out, “Are you right there, matey?” “Matey!” The friendliness of it, the – the – Just to prove how happy she was, just to show the tall fellow how at home she felt, and how she despised stupid conventions, Laura took a big bite of her bread-and-butter as she stared at the little drawing. She felt just like a work-girl.”

Write the sense verbs you find in comments, and we will reply with the correct answers. Ready to learn? Learn more about Skype English lessons.