When Should You Use Sensible and When Should You Use Sensitive?
Sensible and sensitive are adjectives which are often confused by students of English. The two words have distinct meanings in English and will often lead to confusion if used incorrectly.
Meaning: able to use reason, logic and experience to make decisions and judgements; practical. In English when someone you want to say that someone is sensible you can also say that they have common sense.
- She always takes an umbrella with her when it rains. She’s such a sensible child.
- “Maria! Don’t jump in the puddles of water! Be sensible or you’ll get wet!”
Collocations: to be a sensible person, to make a sensible remark, to have a sensible idea, to give sensible advice
Idioms: to have a good head on one’s shoulders. This idiom can also be shortened to ‘to have a good head’.
Examples: She always takes an umbrella with her when it rains. She’s got a good head on her shoulders.
Meaning: to feel things easily, quickly and deeply; to react emotionally or quickly to things and / or people.
- You have to be careful what you say to her, she’s very sensitive.
- People with eczema have very sensitive skin.
- Touch screens are very sensitive. They react to the slightest movement.
Collocations: a sensitive issue / subject / question, a sensitive plant, to be sensitive to light / sound, etc.
Idioms: There are a few idioms which are synonymous to the word sensitive when it is used to refer to someone being emotional or reacting emotionally. You can say that someone is a bundle of nerves or that you have to walk on egg shells around someone.
- You have to be careful what you say to her, she’s a bundle of nerves.
- You must walk on eggshells around her, she’s very sensitive.