THE SENSES

A The five basic senses
 
The five senses are: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell.

The following verbs are related to the five senses. They are followed by an adjective or a noun in these constructions. They do not usually take -ing forms.
 
Sight: It looks terrible, (from what I could see) It looks like a wedding cake.
Hearing: He sounds Chinese, (from what I heard) It sounds like a good idea.
Taste: It tastes strange, (from tasting it) This tastes like bread.
Touch: It feels soft, (from touching it) It feels like a blanket.
Smell: It smells wonderful, (from smelling it) This smells like garlic.

We can also use the verbs as nouns. These are very common:

I didn't like the look of the fish. I love the feel of silk.
I really like the sound of organ music. I hate the smell of gasoline.
I don't like the taste of olives.  

B See, look (at), and watch
 
See is the ability to use your eyes. (The verb is not usually used with the -ing form.) Look (at) often means to look carefully / pay attention to something that is not moving. Watch often means to pay attention to something that is moving.

I can't see a thing without my glasses. [I'm not able to see. / I am nearsighted.]
I can't find my keys, and I've looked everywhere, [searched / looked carefully] The police have been watching the suspect for weeks, [watching secretly]
I watched the game and then went out with friends.
He ran into me because he wasn't looking, [paying attention; the speaker seems angry]
He ran into me because he didn't see me. [wasn't able to see me; the speaker is not angry]
I saw/watched a great program last night, [on TV; we can use either verb here]
I saw a great movie last night, [at a movie theater; we cannot use watch here]

C Hear and listen (to)
 
Hear means "able to hear"; listen (to) means to "pay attention to things you hear":

I couldn't hear what she said. [I was physically unable to hear.]
I don't know what she said because I wasn't listening. [I wasn't paying attention.]
I usually listen to the evening news on television. [I decide to listen.]
I was listening to the radio when I heard a loud noise outside.

Sometimes it is possible to use hear (but not with the -ing form) to mean "listen to": I know he's dead - I heard it on the radio last night. [I heard it when I was listening.]

D Touch
 
Don't touch those wires - they're dangerous.
You have to press that button to start the machine.

I'm frightened. Could you hold my hand?