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Advanced Composition
The Nose Knows: Remembering Smells

March 24 and 25, 2004


"Nothing is more memorable than smell." —Diane Ackerman in her book, A Natural History of the Senses

The scents we remember may represent only a brief moment in our life; for example, the time we smelled yellow roses while walking with a new love. When we smell the flowers again, we will remember the smell of the night air, the rose's scent, the salty breeze. In this lesson, we will remember and describe an event in our lives through the smells of one place and time.


A Smelly Vocabulary

Nouns: scent, odour, perfume, whiff, aroma, fragrance, stench, reek

Verbs: smell, scent, inhale, waft, perfume, get a whiff of, reek

Adjectives: smelly, inhaled, scented, perfumed, stinking, reeking, foul, fragrant

Writing Assignment:

Pick a favourite place and remember four details of the smells present there. Try to think of a specific time you were in that place

Remember food smells, household smells, cooking smells, if the place you remember is a home.

Outdoors smells in nature, when combined with a walk in a beautiful place, often produce strong memories.

List the four smells before you begin your paragraph.

Include in your paragraph at least one other person who was present at the place you remember.

Keep your first draft short, so you can finish in 20 minutes or so. Mention three different smells in your paragraph.

Take your paragraph home to revise and bring it to class next week.

Read the teacher's sample: "An Early Morning Walk in Vancouver" (Essay)

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