In my story there is a scene where someone uses magic to drop an apple to the ground. What word can I use to describe that?

Edit: Since some people have asked me to clarify a bit, the scene goes like this.

A non believer sitting under a tree asks a mage to show proof that magic exists. The magician proceeds by dropping several apples from the tree.

Thunk.(the first one falls).

Thunk. Thunk. Thunk. (3 more).

Thunk. (The last one falls on the head of the non believer for good measure).

I think thunk sounds really weird here so I am looking for an alternative. I'll also clarify that I'm by no means a writer and I'm just writing a story for an assignment. If you have any criticism of the blurb I showed here then I'll be happy to hear it.

  • Welcome to ELL! There's a lot of us willing to help people who are learning English, but we like to know what you've already tried, researched or thought of. What are your thoughts, and why aren't you happy with them? There are lists of onomatopoeia online - have you checked any? What makes it hard for you to choose one?
    – SamBC
    Mar 16, 2019 at 11:57
  • What sound do you think it sounds like—roughly? My impression might be quite different from yours, and giving words that only describe my impression wouldn't be useful to you. Mar 16, 2019 at 14:05
  • Ah. We're very much into matters of opinion and writing advice here, rather than really being about learning English, I think. As such, I won't put an answer as an answer, but I'll say this here - thunk is a perfectly appropriate word for the sound. Thud would also work, and other words might be suitable if the apple is, for example, breaking when it hits the ground. You can use one word repeatedly for the effect - it can be faintly comical - or use several if you prefer to have variety.
    – SamBC
    Mar 16, 2019 at 18:00
  • What sort of surface is it landing on? You say "ground". There's many types of ground, ranging from soft peat where I'm not sure there would even be a sound to hard packed dirt, where your thunk might not be too far off.
    – Ed Grimm
    Mar 16, 2019 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


Thunk is a valid onomatopoeia, although it isn't the first one I would reach for. Personally, I'd prefer thud instead, as thunk feels more like a hollow, drumlike sound than the ground typically provides. Of course, if your ground is raised flooring, thunk could very well be appropriate.

Use of onomatopoeia in general can be very comical, so I would be careful of their application. Strangely, some onomatopoeia are idiomatically more comical than others. Aside from the sound being slightly different, thunk sounds much more amusing than thud. Idiomatically, thunk is more frequently used for slapstick, while thud is often used for more serious situations.

You might want to consider using both. At first, thud with the apples landing on the soft ground, no drum like echo, and using the word that has a bit more gravitas to showcase the watcher's beliefs being changed. Finally, thunk on the head, suggesting that the asker was less than intelligent (head is hollow -> hollow thunk sound), wrapping it up with some comedy.

  • I feel like thunk is a good onomatopoeia word, but thud is a good noun or verb. In other words, I’d be more likely to say, “The apples fell with a thud” than to say, “The apples fell. Thud. Thud. Thud.” I do like thunk for the sound. (Just one opinion, though, I don’t think there are any fixed rules about this.)
    – J.R.
    Mar 18, 2019 at 2:54

You could say for instance:

The apple hit the ground.

The apple burst on the ground.

The apple bursts on the ground.

The apple burst loudly on the floor.

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