Jen’s English Tip’s – Asking or Giving Directions
You know how to ASK for directions, but what happens when an English speaker asks YOU for directions. This is not a time for small talk. Give only basic directions with short phrases. Do the best you can.
Questions you may hear How do I get to Main Street?
Where is the closest gas station?
Can you tell me where the community centre is?
Iím looking for Jane Street.
Are you from around here?
If you know the wayÖ
Use basic English to offer directions. Short phrases are best. Speak slowly and use very careful pronunciation. Spell out a word if necessary.
The easiest way is toÖ
The quickest way is toÖ
The best way is toÖ
go + direction (right, left, down, up, through)
take + road name
turn + right/left
stay on + road name for + distance or time
The easiest way is to go right on Commercial Avenue.
The quickest way is to take Road Number 1.
The best way is to turn right on Main Street.
Stay on Route 1 for about ten minutes.
Use transitions Separate each leg of the route with a transition.
when you get toÖgoÖ
Offer ďBallpark FiguresĒ (rough estimates of time or length of travel)
Some people feel better knowing how long it will take to get from A to B.
Itís just around the corner (not far).
Itís not far.
Itís a bit of a way. (it takes a while)
Itís about a five minute walk.
Itís about a twenty minute bus ride.
Use landmarks Tell the person what to watch for.
You will see a large clock on the right.
You will pass a gas station.
Itís across from the blue church.
More useful language
Itís on + street name
Itís across from Itís opposite
Itís around the corner from
Stay in the right lane.
Itís a very busy road.
Itís a big hill. (if they are walking or on a bike)
There might be construction.
If you pass the Ö you went too far.
Thereís no parking.
If YOU repeat the directions again, the other person will feel more confident. Repeat important details including street names and turns. You can also ask the other person to repeat the directions back to you.
If you are in the car with the driverÖ
Give a lot of warning.
Turn right at the next street
Get in the left lane.
Go one more block. Then turn right.
At the next traffic lights turnÖ
Itís going to be on your right.
Make sure that the other person understood your directions. Say: ďDid you get all that?Ē
If you donít know the wayÖ
Donít guess! Use one of these phrases:
Iím sorry, Iím not from here.
Iím sorry I canít help you.
Sorry I donít know my way around here.
Offer another solution or suggestion
You could ask the bus driver.
Ask the front desk clerk.
Follow me. Iíll show you the way.
Do you want me to draw you a map?
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