Would you believe me if I told you that most native speakers don’t give directions by saying ‘first’, ‘then’, ‘after that’, ‘finally’? Hi everyone. Today we are talking about asking for and giving directions in English. Today I am going to show you 10 direction words, 10 direction phrases, 10 places in a city and finally I am going to show you how native speakers really ask for and give directions in English.
All of this vocabulary you can use in your daily life whether you are traveling in your own city or traveling to a new city or a new country. So if you’re ready to give and ask for directions like a native speaker, let’s get started!
I know you know basic words like ‘go straight’ and ‘turn right’. So in today’s lesson we are going to look at some more useful vocabulary. The first word is ‘between’. ‘Between’ means in the space that separates two things. For example, ‘The man is between the two houses.’
Number two. Next to. ‘Next to’ means in the position to the side of something. Beside something. For example, ‘The man is next to the house.’
Number three. Across from. Another word which means across from is ‘opposite’. ‘Across from’ and ‘opposite’ mean on the other side of something. For example, ‘The man is across from the house.’ This means the house is on one side of the road and the man is on the other side of the road. They are on different sides.
Number four. In front of. ‘In front of’ means in a position that is ahead of something else. For example, ‘The man is in front of the house.’ We say ‘in front of’ because the man is at the part of the house which faces forward.
Number five. Behind. We use the word ‘behind’ to show that one thing is further back than another thing. For example, ‘The man is behind the house.’
Number six. On the corner. A corner is the place where two roads meet. Where they come together. So ‘on the corner’ means something is at the position where two roads meet. For example, ‘The school is on the corner.’
Number seven. Traffic light. A traffic light is what you see on the screen right now.
Number eight. Roundabout. A roundabout is a place where three roads meet and cars must go around a circular area in the middle. What you see on the screen right now is a roundabout.
Number nine. Intersection. An intersection is sometimes called a junction. An intersection or a junction is a place where two or more roads meet. What you see on the screen right now is an intersection.
Number ten. Block. A block is a group of buildings which are surrounded by four roads. Those roads are normally in a square or a rectangle shape. What you see on the screen right now is a block. There are buildings in the middle and roads around it.
Now let’s talk about some phrases that you can use when you are asking for or giving directions. The first phrase is ‘keep going’. Keep going means continue going in the direction that you are going. For example, ‘Keep going straight.’ That means continue going straight. Don’t stop going straight yet.
Number two. Go along the road. Go along the road means follow the road. So if the road goes straight, you go straight. If the road goes to the left, you go to the left. If the road goes to the right, you go to the right. For example, ‘Go along the road for 500 meters.’
Number three. Around the corner. Around the corner can have two main meanings. The first main meaning is when something is very close. For example, ‘The school is around the corner.’ That means the school is very close. The second meaning is that you have to change directions to find something. For example, ‘The school is just around the corner.’ You can see that you have to turn left before you can go to the school.
Number four. Make a U-turn. This means to go in the opposite direction. To turn 180 degrees. For example, ‘When you get to the traffic lights, make a U-turn.’ This means when you get to the traffic lights, you have to turn and go the opposite direction. Also, what you see on the screen right now is the sign which means U-turn.
Number five. Excuse me. This is a very polite phrase that you can use to get someone’s attention when you want to ask them a question. For example, ‘Excuse me. Do you know where the school is?’ If you just say ‘Where is the school’, it may sound not very polite and the person that you are speaking to may not know that you are speaking to them.
Number six. It’s on your left. Or it’s on your right. This is a phrase that you can use to tell someone which side something is on. For example, ‘The school is on your left.’
Number seven. It’s on the left-hand side. Or it’s on the right-hand side. This is another phrase that you can use to show someone which side something is on. For example, ‘The school is on the right-hand side.’
Number eight. Would you happen to know where the __ is? This is a very polite phrase that you can use to ask someone for directions. For example, ‘Would you happen to know where the school is?’ Would you happen to know where the bakery is? Would you happen to know where the train station is?
Number nine. Where is the nearest __ ? This is a phrase that you can use to ask for the location of something that is closest to you. For example, ‘Where is the nearest school?’ This means you are asking about the school that is closest to you. If you just say ‘Where is the school’, the person may not know what you are talking about because when we use the word ‘the’, normally it means that you know which one and I know which one. If you just say ‘Where is a school’ that means any school. So the best phrase you can use if you’re looking for something that is close to you is ‘Where is the nearest __ ?’
Number ten. It’s about ___ from here. When a native speaker is asked the directions for something, he will normally start by saying how long he thinks it will take to get there. For example, ‘Where is the nearest school?’ ‘It’s about 10 minutes from here by car’ or ‘It’s about 20 minutes from here by train.’
Number eleven. I’m sorry. I’m not sure where it is. If someone asks you where something is and you don’t know, it’s a little bit rude if you just say ‘I don’t know.’ So a polite phrase you can use is ‘I’m sorry. I’m not sure where it is.’ For example, ‘Where is the nearest school?’ ‘I’m sorry. I’m not sure where it is.’
Places in a city
Now let’s talk about some different places in a city.
Number one. Bank. A bank is a place where you can put your money or take your money out.
Number two. Post office. A post office is a place where you can send letters or parcels. You can also buy stamps at a post office.
Number three. Bus station. A bus station is a place with one or more buildings where buses stop for people to get on and off.
Number four. Bakery. A bakery is a place where you can buy bread, cakes and other baked goods.
Number five. Park. A park is a large area with grass and trees where people go to relax or exercise.
Number six. Library. A library is a place where you can borrow and read books.
Number seven. Airport. An airport is a place where planes take off and land and allow passengers to get on and off the planes.
Number eight. Shopping center. A shopping center can also be called a ‘mall’. A shopping center is a large building with lots of different shops inside.
Number nine. Gym. A gym is a place where people go to exercise and lift weights.
Number ten. Hospital. A hospital is a place where people who are sick go to be treated by doctors or nurses.
Giving and asking for directions like a native speaker
You’ve learned some directions vocabulary and phrases. So now it’s time to show you how native speakers really give directions in English. I’m going to show you a map and I will ask you directions to certain places. Then I will show you how native speakers would give directions to those places. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Number one. Where is the nearest park? Turn right at the first intersection. Go along the road and after you pass the house on the left, turn left. The park will be on your right-hand side opposite the house and the bakery.
Number two. Excuse me. Would you happen to know where the bank is? Take your first right and go past the office building. The bank will be on your left.
Number three. How can I get to the school from here? Go straight until you see the post office on your right-hand side. Then turn right at that intersection. Go along the road and go through the first intersection. The school will be on your left across from the park.
Number four. I want to go to the bus station. What’s the quickest way from here? Go along the road until you see the hospital on the corner. Turn right and then go past the mall. The bus station will be on your left across from the library.
Number five. I need to get to the bakery. Do you know how to get there? Take the first right and go along the road. When you get to the house on the corner, turn left. The bakery will be on your left, opposite the park.
You can see here that when I gave directions, I didn’t use words like ‘first’, ‘after that’ and ‘finally’. When I gave directions, I used words like ‘and’ ‘then’ and ‘when’. So when you’re giving directions, try not to use words like ‘first’, ‘finally’ and ‘after that’. You will sound more like a native speaker. Number. Number ten. It’s about.