Giving Directions in English

 

 

It’s time to learn how to give directions in English. In today’s episode I teach you the most commonly used phrases when giving directions to someone. Enjoy :)

Transcript

Hey guys, you are listening to the English Made Simple show, this is episode #88, numero ochenta y ocho.

Hello, hellow welcome to English Made Simple, my name is Milena from www.englishmadesimple.net.

What’s cooking good looking….Hope everyone is fine and dandy.

I am fine as well, a bit sick, it’s that time of the year when everyone around me starts coughing and sneezing, and I am bound to get sick myself.

Well, here I am and the show must go on so let’s carry on muchachos!

Before we begin, let me send a special greeting to Daniela chilena from Santiago who lives in New Zealand at the moment, Daniela is preparing for IELTS, I want to wish you all the very best for your exam! I am sure you will do well, because you are listening to the English Made Simple show! I know a couple of listeners who passed their IELTS just by tuning in to the English Made Simple podcast.

Every bit counts. Keep going!

Also a special hello to Wendy from the Dominican Republic, who works in hospitality in the capital Santo Domingo. Wow that’s one place on the list I’d like to visit one day! A big shout out to Wendy, thank you for your nice comments. I hope today’s episode helps you when you come across some tourists who look lost and need help with directions.

Cool bananas! Let’s continue with today’s show.

So last week we learnt how to ask for directions, and in the last episode we learnt about landmarks and what they were.

If this is your first time listening to English Made Simple I recommend you listen to the last two episodes where we learnt about asking for directions and we learnt what the landmarks were, ok? That will help you prepare for this episode.

And today we are going to learn how to give someone directions. How do you explain to someone where the museum is for example?

When I was living in Santiago in 2015, I lived in a suburb called Providencia, for some strange reason when I was there, people would stop me on the street and ask me for directions to other streets in the area. It was my first week in Santiago, and It happened to me twice in one day that somebody stopped me on the street and asked me for directions and I spoke little Spanish, I spoke fluently using my legs and hands, you know what I mean… haha
I was like…trying to remember, derecho, derecha, por aqui por alli oh my god I got tongue-tied, I didn’t know how to explain it and I hope those people didn’t end up getting lost at the end… I really hope so!

Tongue-tied – tongue is lengua, tied is amarrada. You can imagine what it is. Just means a bit nervous, and unable to explain something clearly, in English people use this expression a lot when someone is a bit nervous or not comfortable, he is tongue-tied, unable to explain something. Right? Cool!

Well, nothing wrong with this – that’s one way of giving directions – using your arms and legs, using your body language. Nothing wrong with that!

However, what would be even better is to combine the speaking bit with body language. This, on the other hand, won’t work if you had to give directions to someone over the phone.

So having said this, we will need to know how to give directions properly in English.

So let’s just do that. Shall we?

I am going to use the museum as an example because it’s just easier to remember.

And I am going to use Carolina, my imaginary friend Carolina…Let’s pretend Carolina stops me on the street and asks me:

Excuse me madam, where can I find the Melbourne museum?

And I would say: Sure…the Melbourne museum…yup, I can tell you where it is. Just keep walking along this street until you reach the main intersection, the museum will be right in front of you.

Cool… it’s a simple example.

I said, “keep walking along this street” in other words….”Continue along this street” or another way to say it and which would mean the same thing is:

Carry on straight ahead

Carry on is a phrasal verb and it means to continue. Continue along the same road. In Spanish it is continúa o sigue por esta calle. Along, the word along means – a lo largo de.

Although, I haven’t heard this said in Spanish, the most common is sigue por esta calle or continúa por esta calle.

Along – it means moving in a constant direction. It can be an adjective and an adverb.

Easy peasy japanesy.

Carolina has more questions for me. She is also looking for the nearest Post Office. She wants to send letters and postcards to her family overseas.

Carolina proceeds: Great, thank you for that, she says. Now can you please tell me where the nearest Post Office is?

And I say: Certainly. The nearest Post office is 2 blocks from here, it’s about 10 minutes walking. Turn left onto William Street, once you cross the pedestrian crossing the Post Office should be around there, opposite the National Library.

Awesome!

So in the last example I said: walk 2 blocks – two blocks, 3 or 4 blocks is a way we measure distance when we give directions. It’s usually from one set of traffic lights to the next….or from one intersection to the next – that would be 1 block. In Spanish 2 blocks is dos cuadras or 3 bocks would mean – tres cuadras and so on.

We also use words like Turn left or Turn right to indicate direction. More specifically Turn Right onto William Street or Turn Right onto Smith St or similar. We normally use the phrase Turn onto a street or Turn Onto a road because we are already walking on the street or road, we are already on it.

I also mentioned something called pedestrian crossing. Pedestrian crossings are usually marked with zebra lines and it implies that this area is pedestrian zone only – it is only used for pedestrians, for people crossing the road. Pedestrian crossing in Spanish is paso peatonal – peatones means pedestrians.

And there is something else I mentioned, I said the Post office is opposite the National Library. Opposite means it is directly opposite.

A synonym for the word opposite is – across from. – That’s two words.

If I say that “the Post Office is across from the library” – I mean to say that it is somewhere there close to the Library, not necessarily, directly in front of the library. In my example, I used opposite the library. It means, directly opposite the library.

Phew, does that make sense?

Cool, I think Carolina has more questions for me. No wonder she is standing right there in front of me. Oh my goodness.

She says thanks for that. I really appreciate it. Sorry I have another question.

I am also looking for the Fruit and Veggie market – Mercado de frutas y verduras o feria in Spanish.

Is this next to the St Nicholas Church?

Hmmm, no it’s not next to the Church, it’s actually further up, past the Church and past the Civic Theatre, and it’s off the main road. Once you pass the theatre, the Fruit and Veggie market is between the Parliament building and Botanical Gardens. This is the quickest way to get here.

Righto. So in this example, I said to Carolina, the market is further up from the Church.

It means continue walking further, it’s not that close. Further is the comparative of the word Far – lejos. And the superlative is Furthest which means Más lejos or in this case when we talk about directions it means más allá de.

You know these things like comparatives and superlatives when we talk about comparisons.

Something is Big- Bigger-Biggest. We have words like: Good, Better and the Best. So in this case it is, Far-Further-Furthest. When something is far it can be even further or it can even be the furthest.

Cool, I hope that makes sense.

Wow there is just so much here to explain!

What else did I say, I said something like… it is off the main road. O F F. The market is off the main road. It means it is not on the main road, but it is close to the main road. It’s off the main road.
In Spanish this would mean cerca, close or nearby.

Did we have enough for today amigos? I hope you were able to understand most of these instructions, if it helps please listen to this episode again.

So to quickly summarise today’s episode, we learnt how to give directions using basic prepositions and phrases. There are more phrases that we can use to give directions to someone and I will prepare something for you and share it in the Facebook group, English Made Simple. This is an exclusive Facebook group for English Made Simple listeners.

Today’s episode should give you enough tools to play with and practise giving directions to someone.

Don’t forget the transcripts will be available on my website, www.englishmadesimple.net, in a couple of days that will help you out. Check out englishmadesimple.net.

Thank you for joining me amigos, I’ll catch you next time, see you on the flipside. Hasta la proxima.

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