Not everyone knows where they are going and may need help with directions from time to time. Directions may be needed to get to a near by town, or directions to the newest mall in town or directions to the nearest rest room in a large building. Where ever you are going the expression below can be used when asking for directions.

 English Expressions 

Expression

Response 
Could you tell me how to get to

( …the library)?

  Go to the next light and turn right. Go two blocks, it’s

on the left.

How do I find ( … city hall)?

 

  Just go straight, it’s on this street, on the right, about a

mile and a half.

Which way do I go to get to

( … the post office)?

  Drive to Jackson Street and turn right. The post office

is in the middle of the block, across from the park.

Pardon me, I’m lost, how do I get to the

  ( … museum)?

  Go to the second light and turn left. Then go the third

stop sign. The museum is on that corner.

Could you direct me to ( … I-10)?   Take Pinal Avenue north about 8 miles You’ll run into

it.

Which is the best route to

( …the stadium)?

  Take Washington Street north to the Papago freeway

and Head west. You can’t miss it.

 

Suggestions for giving directions

Giving street directions is really very easy when you remember to follow these points. When giving directions

you are actually giving two sets of instructions.

 

In the first set- “Go To” – you are telling the listener what street to go to or how far to go.

In the second set- “Then”, you are telling the listener what to do when they get there.

(turn right/left, go straight, on the left, etc.)

 

Giving even very complicated directions is just a repetition of these two basic steps.

 

Another good idea is to use easily identifiable landmarks; instead of the amount of time to get someplace

(time is relative, after all). Easily identifiable landmarks are street lights, stop signs, parks, tall building

standing alone, etc.

 

Prepositions of location most commonly used when giving directions:

go straight                  go to                           turn right                     turn left

cross                          on your right               on your left                  beside

next to                         behind                        across from                in front of

caddy corner

on the corner of (to be very specific NE, SE, NW, SW corners)

English Dialogue

Students should work together in pairs and read the following dialogue, one student reading one part, the other student reading the other. Note the expressions used in the dialogue and the progression of the conversation. The dialogue can be used as a model to have similar conversations.

 

Wally: Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to the city hospital?

Sally: Sure, the hospital is on Tenth Street, about 20 minutes away by foot. Go south on this street two blocks

until you come to the stop light.

Wally: Go south two blocks to the stop light.

Sally: Correct, then, turn left and go three more blocks, until you come to the end of the road. A park will be

in front of you.

Wally: Turn left and go for three blocks to the park.

Sally: Right, then turn right again and go seven blocks, to Lipton Avenue.

Wally: Turn right and go seven blocks to Lipton Avenue.

Sally: Next, turn left on Lipton Avenue and go two blocks. The hospital is on your left, across from the baseball

stadium.

Wally: OK, let me see if I’ve got this straight. Go south on this street for two blocks to the stop light. Turn left at

the light and go three blocks to the park. Turn right at the park and go seven blocks to Lipton Avenue. At

Lipton Avenue turn right and…

Sally: No, turn left on Lipton Avenue.

Wally: OK, turn left on Lipton Avenue, the hospital is two blocks down, on my left.

Sally: You got it.

Wally: Thanks.

 

After reading, close your book and tell your partner a summary of the dialogue. Then switch and have your partner tell his or her summary. Start like this: This dialogue is about a person asking directions to …This may seem silly, since you both already know what the dialogue is about, but the purpose is to practice using your English, not to give information or test your reading skills.

Conversation Activities

1. Pair work- discussion

Have you given directions to anyone lately? Tell your partner about it using some of the ideas for discussion

below. Your partner should ask questions to get more information.

  • who did you give directions to
  • where did you give directions to
  • how often do you give directions
  • have you ever not known the directions to a place asked about

2. Pair work- discussion

Work with a partner and ask for and give directions to the following places in town. Decide between you on a

starting point. Use some of the expressions for asking directions and the prepositions of location listed

above.

 

    Movie theater                       

                                                      Bus station                                  

                                                      City Hall

                                                      Park                             

                                                      Hospital                                

                                                      Bus station