How to give and understand directions in English

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Giving Directions on the Street in English

In today’s world, full of technology, GPS, and digital maps, everything seems easier. Wherever we may find ourselves in the world at any moment of the day, we can activate our devices to find the correct address. Those times when you would assess the passers-by with the hope of identifying the right person to ask for directions. seem to be almost forgotten. That person who looked as if they knew everything about the area, a local resident who gave off an air of reliability and availability was the one you were looking for.

Are those times over? The answer is no. Even today, we can often find ourselves lost in an unknown city asking for directions. It is also increasingly common for tourists to stop us on the street because they are looking for a restaurant or archaeological site. After all, it is possible for your phone to stop working or for the battery to run out earlier than expected. Then there are those who prefer to talk to passers-by, partly because they do not like technology and partly because they prefer human contact. For those that want to learn English, asking for and giving directions is an excellent way to practice the language.

To give or receive directions correctly, however, it is very important to understand what we are being told and what to say in response. Otherwise, we can risk sending an unfortunate tourist one kilometre to the west when they were looking for a pub that is twenty metres to the east. That is why we have decided to offer you this small guide so that you can become an experienced “road sign” and can understand any instruction given by others in English.

How to Ask for Directions on the Street

You are in Trafalgar Square and have just visited the National Gallery. How will you get to your next monument on foot? And if you found yourself under the hot Miami sun and could not find your way to the nearest beach?


First and foremost, after having identified your guide, you should be friendly and greet them in a pleasant way.

Excuse me.

Excuse me, madam / sir.

Hello, I am lost. Could you help me, please?

Directions to a Specific Place

Once you have greeted the other person, you can ask them for what you need. Try these phrases.

I’m lost. Can you help me?

Where can I find the main street, please?

What is the best way to the post office?

How do I get to the beach from here?

How to Get to the Metro Station

Where is the nearest tube station? (in London)

Where is the nearest subway station? (in the US)

Directions at the Bus Stop

Does the number 33 bus stop outside the train station?

How often does the airport bus pass?

At which stop do I need to get off to reach the science museum?

How to Give Directions on the Street

Turn left / right.
Make a left / right.

Take a left / right.

Go straight. // Carry straight on. // Continue straight ahead.

Go north / south / east / west. // Head north / south / east / west.

Walk down this avenue.

Walk up to the next junction.

It’s around the corner.

It’s across the street. // It’s on the other side of the street.

It’s two blocks away.

It’s too far to walk.

You need to take a taxi or catch the bus.

You should go by metro.

In the Car

Follow the signs to the airport.

It’s well signposted.

Take Exit 55.

It’s a five-minute drive.

It’s about a mile away.

It’s about a kilometer away.

Turn around.

You’re going the wrong way!

Make a U-turn.

With a map

Could you show me on the map how to get to the British Museum from here, please?

This useful selection of phrases is part of the materials for the classes offered by the Teachers at ABA English. Currently, ABA English has a record 17 million students. Why don’t you try it as well? We offer 144 free video classes and the same number of short films, in addition to the classes offered by our teachers on our Facebook page..


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