How to Give Directions in English

By Manuel Campos
Updated:

Learning how to ask and give directions in English is quite helpful when we or somebody is a little lost, when you are in a new place, or you need to visit a place for the very first time.

In this guide you are going to learn about:

  • How to Give Directions in the City
  • How to Give Directions inside a building

I hope you can do both of these things before the end of the lesson.

What You Need to Give Directions in English

You don’t need to study a lot of words and structures to be able to give directions in English.

To learn how to ask for and give directions in English, you need to be familiar with:

  • Prepositions of place
  • Wh-Questions
  • Simple Present

Let’s start talking about how to ask for directions in English.

Prepositions of Place

To give directions in English you need to know the most common prepositions of place

These are the ten most common prepositions to give directions in English

Next toIn front of
Across fromNear
InsideBy
BehindBetween
OnBeside

If you have questions about the pronunciation of these words, you can check the pronunciation and phonetic transcription using the Cambridge Online Dictionary

How to Ask for Directions in English

These are some common expressions to ask for directions in English in a city

  1. How do I get to the police station?
  2. What’s the best way to get to the supermarket?
  3. Where is the church?
  4. Could you tell me where the shoe store is?
  5. Do you know where the post office is?
  6. Where can I find the nearest bakery?
  7. Is there a shop around here?

You can also ask for directions without making a question, a phrase commonly used is:

  • I am looking for the supermarket
  • I am looking for the pharmacy

Now let’s check some of the useful phrases when giving directions in English.

How to Give Directions in English

This is a list of common phrases to give directions in English

Go straight on Turn back
It is this wayIt is that way
Go under the bridgeGo over the bridge
Go backTurn left
Turn RightGo along
CrossTake the first road on the right
OppositeTake the second road on the left
At the endJust around the corner

You can also use some of these phrases when giving directions in English.

  • The easiest way is to…
  • The quickest way is to…
  • The best way is to…

These are some examples of sentences used when giving directions in English

  1. The bank is on the main street.
  2. The hospital is around the corner.
  3. Go North for two blocks.
  4. The Supermarket is on the main avenue.
  5. Walk straight for two miles.
  6. Drive for three kilometres
  7. The school is between the park and the bank
  8. Cross the street
  9. Get to the supermarket
  10. The hotel is in front of the school
  11. The best way is to turn right on Main Street.

These are some phrases to indicate that you are not from here

  • I’m sorry, I’m not from here.
  • I’m afraid I can’t help you.
  • Sorry, I don’t know my way around here.

Examples of Giving Directions in English

These are examples of giving directions in English, these sentences are a bit longer than the previous one.

A. Go straight on. Then take the first left onto Green Street. Walk past the library and it’s the building next to the library on the left. 

B. Go straight on. Go past the traffic lights. You will see a shop on the right. Go past that and it’s on the right next to the shop.  

C. Go straight on. Go past the traffic lights and go straight on until you get to the roundabout. At the roundabout turn left. Go past the theatre. It’s the building next to the theatre, opposite the hospital.  

How to Give Directions Inside Buildings

This is some key vocabulary to give directions inside buildings

Go forwardTurn left / right at the corner
Walk alongUpstairs
DownstairsWalk straight ahead
Take the elevatorGo in
Go outGo through
it’s right hereIt’s on your right /left

Places Inside the Building

These are some of the most common places that you can find inside a building and that can be useful when you have to give a direction inside one.

DepartmentLaboratory
Administration OfficeCafeteria
HallClassroom
RestroomRecreational areas
BuildingCampus
Copy CenterLunchroom
ReceptionConference Room

Asking for Directions Inside Buildings

These are some ways to ask for directions inside buildings

  1. Where is the computer room?
  2. Where is the public telephone?
  3. Excuse me, where are the restrooms?
  4. Can you tell me where the public telephone is?
  5. How do you get to the ATM?
  6. Do you know where the English class is?
  7. Please give me the directions to the elevator
  8. What are the directions to the Administration Office?
  9. What is the way to the gym?
  10. I’m looking for the library
  11. How do I get to the Cafeteria?
  12. How can I get to the clothing store?

These are some example of responses when asked about directions inside a hotel

  1. The restaurant is at the end of the hallway to the right.
  2. The elevators are straight ahead on the left
  3. The stairway is around the corner over there.
  4. -Go along the corridor/hall.
  5. Turn right at the end of the hall.
  6. Take the stairs down to the basement
  7. Go through the door.-
  8. It’s just through / past / after the door.
  9. Take the elevator up to the top floor.
  10. Go up to the fifth floor.
  11. Go straight ahead.

Dialogue: Give Locations Inside a Hotel 

This is an example of a dialogue that takes place inside a hotel.

  • Receptionist: Good Morning, How can I help you?
  • Guest: Can you tell me where the bar is?
  • Receptionist: It is near the dance room
  • Guest: Could you tell me how to get to the bar?
  • Receptionist: The bar is on the second floor. Please go straight along the hallway. Take the escalator up one floor. The bar is on your left.
  • Guest: Thanks a lot
  • Receptionist:  You are welcome

More Information

Check these pages and sites before you go:

  1. How to Ask Questions in English
  2. How to Ask for Clarification in English
  3. How to Express Feelings in English
  4. How to Make a Phone Call in English
  5. How to talk about your qualifications
  6. How to Give Advice in English
  7. How to Talk about The Daily Routine in English
Jose Manuel Campos N - English Professor

About manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of EnglishPost.org, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English