Sound and light

General words to describe sound

– I could hear the sound of voices/music coming from the next room, [neutral]
– Our neighbours had a party last night. The noise went on till 3 a.m. [loud, unpleasant sounds]
– I tried hard to hear what she was saying above the din of the traffic, [very loud, irritating noise]
– The children are making a terrible racket upstairs. Could you go and tell them to be quiet? [very loud, unbearable noise, often of human activity]
– Racket and din are quite informal words. Noise can be countable or uncountable. When it means sounds of short duration, it is countable, when it means a lot of continual or continuous sounds, it is uncountable.
– Their lawnmower makes a lot of noise, doesn’t it? [uncountable]
– I heard some strange noises in the night, [countable]

Sound words and things that typically make them

The words can be used as nouns or verbs
I could hear the rain pattering on the roof. We heard the patter of a little child’s feet.


Some adjectives for dark conditions.
– These brown walls are a bit gloomy. We should paint them white.
– This torch gives a dim light. I think it needs new batteries.
– It was a sombre room, with dark, heavy curtains, [serious, imposing]

Types of light

– The sun shines and gives out rays of light A torch gives out a beam of light.
– A camera gives a flash of light.
– Stars twinkle.
– A candle-flame flickers in the breeze.
– White-hot coal on a fire glows.
– A diamond necklace sparkles.
– A gold object glitters.