Granted, both "senuous" and "sensual" are adjectives meaning to appeal to the senses, but there's a significant difference that outweighs this similarity.
"Sensuous" means to appeal to the senses or to have strong sensory appeal.
Examples: The experience of reading an actual book is sensuous in a way that reading from a screen is not. The sauce is sensuous in its richness.
"Sensual" is altogether more carnal in meaning. It basically pertains to fleshly or sexual appeal.
Example: They think the movie is too sensual for young viewers.
Hint: "Sensual" and "sexual" both end in "ual."
Do you have a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like to see discussed? Do you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one? If so, please let me know.
Visit our archive for past "Grammar Traps."
We want to hear from you. Do you have a communication question? Do you have a comment on this issue of On Target? If so, please e-mail any of our writers, or simply reply to this e-mail.
© 2005 Purdue University EEO Statement