Have you heard somebody use the phrase “in a sense” in English?

Do you wonder what the word “sense” means and feel as if you hear it used in many different contexts?

Today we’re going to look at this phrase and others like it that use the word “sense” to convey a common thought.

This is a great aspect of conversation, and one that you can actively be a part of once you understand how to use it.

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We have a great listener question about the word “sense” coming from “in a sense…” and it’s a great one to help you to understand this.

Hi ladies,

Thank you for the show, I just love it and learn so much! I have a question about something that I heard on the show before, and I am hoping for some help. I heard Lindsay say “in a sense” often, and I know what it means on a superficial level.

I’m sure that there are other ways to use the word “sense” and this is what I’m wondering about. Can you educate me more on the word “sense” and how you could use it?

Thank you very much,

Kraizi

Looking At A Common Phrase

It is so funny that Kraizi asked this question in the example, because you may see this phrase show up a lot on our transcripts.

It’s a very common phrase, and therefore it can be helpful to understand what it means.

When we look at the phrase “in a sense” you may think of it as “in a way”, which is to say kind of, a bit, or generally.

It gives that sort of in between or general ballpark kind of explanation in a situation.

When you use “in a sense” it can be a good way to compare things or even make examples.

It’s a versatile phrase that works in a variety of situations, and so you want to use it in the right context.

Here are a couple of examples so that you can see how you might use “in a sense” in your conversations—it can be a great addition when it fits!

  • “In a sense, I agree with you, but there many aspects which I think you need to rethink.”
  • We have a good example from Episode 1408 where we said “Yeah (yes), they call it the useless degree. Right? I feel like psych majors are kind of poked fun at a lot of times in our culture because, you know, I mean, psychology isn’t, like, immediately obviously applicable, but it’s everywhere. So, in a sense it is applicable. I’ve just always found psychology fascinating.”
  • “Pizza can be healthy, in a sense, but you have to make it with a lot of veggies and not eat too much!”

You can see why you may tend to use this phrase a lot in conversation.

It’s interesting that the listener caught the fact that Lindsay uses it a lot on the show—it’s actually super high level to catch onto somebody’s speaking habits!

So you see how this phrase works and when you might use it, and there are other phrases that feature the word “sense” in them worth looking at.

Other Phrases That Use The Word Sense

There is something about the word “sense” that makes it appear in several different phrases.

Though “in a sense” is obviously very common and you understand how it works, there are other phrases worth looking at too.

Here are some other phrases that use the word “sense” in them, and you want to be sure to practice using them in your conversations.

  • In THE sense that: This is really the same idea as “in a sense”, but it’s used to explain something specific. It’s like explaining in THE way that so it leads to a specific conclusion or explanation. You might say “Playing tennis is like playing baseball in the sense that they are games played with a ball and something to hit that ball.”
  • Make sense: This means something is understandable. You can understand why somebody would say or do something. A lot of people say “does that make sense?” when they mean “is that clear?” You could say “I understand the first paragraph, but the second one doesn’t make sense.”
  • Come to your senses: This means to be logical, or regular, or more like yourself after acting in an odd, rude, unusual way. Sometimes it’s about if you were knocked out or unconscious, or if you were just not acting like yourself in a situation. You might hear “He wanted to book a 10,000 dollar vacation, but he came to his senses after I showed him our bank account!
  • Sixth sense: This was a popular movie, and it refers to something beyond just the basic five senses. It’s like your intuition, special gift or trait, or inner voice that tells you something. You could say something like “My sixth sense is the ability to declutter a room in 1 hour.”
  • Knock some sense into: This is something that you may wish to do to make someone who is being illogical or wrong understand better. You might say “Can you knock some sense into my cousin? She doesn’t seem to get that it isn’t easy to bake 12 cakes in one day.”

Takeaway

The word “sense” is super dynamic, as you can see in the multiple phrases that use it.

These phrases come up in conversation a lot, and now you know how to use them.

Try them out today, as it can really take your English speaking to another level.

It’s so great how the listener decided to ask this question, after really paying attention to what we were saying on the show.

There are so many more phrases in this area, and we can do a follow up on that soon.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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