Asking for and Giving Directions
Vocabulary and signs that we need to revise together:
When asking for directions, we say:
- Excuse me! How do I get to the post office?
- What’s the best way to the post office?
- Where is the post office?
- Can you show me the way to the post office?
- Where can I find the nearest post office?
- Is there a post office near here?
- Is there a post office around here?
- Can you tell me how to get to the post office from here?
- Can you show me the post office on the map?
When giving directions, we say:
To give directions, short expressions are the best.
- The easiest way to get to the post office is…
- Go+ direction (right, left, down, up, through…).
- Take+ road name (Russell Park Street).
- Turn+ right/left.
- Stay on+ street name for (Russell Park Street)+ distance or time (for about five minutes).
- You’ll pass a supermarket on your left.
Remember to use transitions:
- After that
- When you get to…go…
People in general feel at ease knowing how long it will take to get to their destinations. For instance, you may say:
- It’s just around the corner (very near).
- It’s not far.
- It’s a bit of way (it takes a while).
- It’s about a five minutes’ walk.
It’s good to also use landmarks. State to the individual what to look for. For instance, you may say:
- You’ll see a large roundabout on the right.
- You’ll pass a petrol station.
- It’s across from the red palace.
Offer warnings: strangers may make deadly mistakes if it’s their first time in the region. So it’s vital to give them warnings that may save time and their lives. For instance, you may say:
- Stay in the right lane.
- It’s a very crowded road.
- It’s a vast and sharp mountain.
- It might be under construction.
- If you pass the court, you went too far.
- There is no parking.
Feel free to repeat the directions again, the other person will feel more self-assured.
- Repeat vital details including street names and turns. You can also ask the other person to repeat the directions back to you. You can also jot them down on a piece of paper.
If you don’t know the destination! DON’T just IGNORE the person asking YOU. At least you may say:
- I am sorry, I am not from here.
- I am afraid I cannot help you.
- Sorry! I don’t know my way around here.
Offer another solution:
- You could ask the taxi driver.
- Ask the police officer next to the roundabout.