Touch or Feel?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Touch" and "Feel"?

"Touch" and "feel" are easy to confuse, especially for English learners.
  • "Touch" means to come in contact physically with something. For example:
    • If you touch the wire, you lose.
  • "Feel" means to touch something to learn about it. For example:
    • Feel the shark's skin. It is rougher than it looks.
touch or feel?

More about "Touch" and "Feel"

"Touch" and "feel" have similar meanings, but there is a subtle difference between them.


The verb "to touch" means to make physical contact with something (usually with the hand or finger).

Example sentences with "touch":
  • The paint is wet. Do not touch it. correct tick
  • For a moment, our fingers touched. correct tick
  • (In these two examples, "touch" means to make physical contact. This is the most common meaning of "to touch.")
"Touch" can also be used figuratively with the meaning to invoke a feeling of affection, gratitude, or sympathy. For example:
  • Your painting touched me. correct tick
  • (Here, "touch" means to invoke a feeling of emotion.)
As a noun, "touch" is a small amount of something. For example:
  • The mixture needs a touch of sugar. correct tick
  • (Here, "touch" is a noun. It means a small amount.)


    The verb "to feel" means to be aware of something (or to learn about something) by touching it. It also means to experience an emotion or sensation.

    Example sentences with "feel":
    • Feel the softness of this material. correct tick
    • (Here, "to feel" means to learn about something by touching it.)
    • I feel excited for the holiday. correct tick
    • (Here, "to feel" means to experience an emotion.)

    Even More about "Touch" and "Feel"

    Here, for completeness, are all five forms of the verb "to touch":
    No.Verb FormExample
    1Base Formtouch
    2The -S Form
    (also called the Third Person Singular Present Tense Form)
    3Past Formtouched
    4The -ING Form
    (also called the Present Participle Form)
    5The Past Participle Formtouched
    Here are all five forms of the verb "to feel":
    No.Verb FormExample
    1Base Formfeel
    2The -S Form
    (also called the Third Person Singular Present Tense Form)
    3Past Formfelt
    4The -ING Form
    (also called the Present Participle Form)
    5The Past Participle Formfelt

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    See Also

    adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? List of easily confused words

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