Sensible/Sensitive

What’s the difference between sensible and sensitive?

Sensitive and sensible are both adjectives. Although they sound similar to words in other languages, they have quite different meanings in English. Sensitive refers to an emotional and/or understanding person, while sensible describes something or someone that is practical. Let’s take a closer look at the difference between sensitive and sensible in English.

Example

Helen works as a babysitter on the weekends.

She is a good babysitter because she is very sensible, and she is sensitive to the children’s needs.

She knows to dress the children in sensible clothes. When the weather is very hot, she puts sun cream on the kids to protect their sensitive skin.

Helen takes her job very seriously, and she can be sensitive to criticism.

Advertisement

Sensible

  • A sensible person is wise; they are able to use good judgement and don’t make silly mistakes.
Example:
Helen is a good babysitter because she is very sensible.
  • Sensible clothes or shoes are practical instead of attractive or fashionable.
Example:
She dresses the children in sensible clothes. Raincoats and wellingtons for wet weather, sandals and sunhats for the beach.

Sensitive

  • A sensitive person can be easily affected by things that other people say or do. They are easily upset or offended.
Example:
Be careful what you say. Helen can be very sensitive to criticism.
  • A sensitive person can also be kind, understanting and sympathetic.
Example:
She is sensitive to the children’s needs.
  • Sensitive also means delicate or fragile. Something that is easily affected or damaged.
Example:
The children have sensitive skin.