If Your Essay Doesn't Smell, It Should

I'll admit - it's hard enough to write about images. Closing your eyes, thinking back to the moment, and then writing down what you saw isn't something you're used to doing.

Then why bother with smells? Smells might actually be easier to include than images. Scientists say that we can smell 10 different odors:

  1. Fragrant
  2. Woody
  3. Fruity
  4. Chemical
  5. Minty
  6. Sweeeeet
  7. Popcorn
  8. Lemon
  9. Pungent
  10. Decayed

So what? Seems to me that one easy way to make your essay more aromatic is to include one of these ten smells. As you consider the moments you're writing about, try to find the scent. Scent of an essay. A simple trick - but something most students will overlook.

Side note: Consider odor vs. scent vs. aroma vs. smell - word choice matters.

Good luck writing!


Jon Perkins holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He helps students with their college, law school, and medical school applications.