Things to Consider When Describing Directions in English

Some of the most common phrases in daily life are the ones needed for asking for directions and describing directions. Whether you take a wrong turn on your city tour and get lost among the streets, or stop someone on the road to ask for the closest pharmacy, you will need to use sentence patterns that are one way or another linked to describing directions. You may sometimes be the local who will respond to the curious question of a tourist. If you know the tips to describe an address in English language and apply these tips when needed, you can have a fluent conversation in any case. In other words, you can openly ask for directions of a specific location, or you can give directions to a place in the shortest and the most correct way possible.

In this article, students who are learning a language and want to talk over the topic of “Things to consider when describing directions in English” can find practical information about different stages for address description such as asking directions in English, location or position indication, describing a direction or a route.

Things to consider when asking someone for directions in English

The first tip about address description in English is linked with the types of asking an address. So, you need to use “Excuse me” phrases to kindly start this topic. You can find two different versions of the most frequently used phrases to ask for an address.
  • Excuse me, how can I get to the train station? / how can I go to the bus station? / Excuse me, where can I find a pharmacy?
You can also try sentences beginning with “Could you…” (Including please is always a plus):
  • Could you please tell me where the bus stop is? / Could you please explain to me how to get to the airport, please? / Could you please describe me the way to the City Hall?
If the address you are trying to reach is nearby, you can make use of the following phrases:
  • Is there a pharmacy nearby?
  • Sorry to interrupt, but where is the nearest supermarket?
  • Where is the nearest bank?
  • Do you know where the hospital is?
If you especially prefer somehow more official or polite communication, you can use the following sentences to ask for an address description:
  • Could you help me to find a florist’s?
  • Can you tell me the way to the City Hotel, please?
  • Could you show me on the map where the Central Bus Station is?
  • Can I go there by bus?
  • Can I get to the airport by tram?
When you approach someone for directions, you should use some opening phrases. Or if someone asks you for directions and you have no idea, then you should use some phrases similar with the ones you use when apologizing. You can also include sentences that indicate you are a foreigner there.
  • Excuse me!
  • Excuse me, sir/madam!
  • Sorry, I am not from around here.
  • Sorry, but I seem to be lost!
  • Hello, madam!

Things to consider when responding to the questions of directions in English

There are different phrases in English to respond to the questions a foreigner asks for an address description. In this case, you can use phrases that indicate helpfulness, showing the questioner you will be able to give a positive answer.
  • Yes, of course. You can follow the route I’ll explain to you.
  • Let me see the map, first.
  • Don’t worry, I’ll show you the route.
If you want to state that you do not know the address, you can kindly use polite negative phrases of the English language.
  • Unfortunately, I can’t help you.
  • I don’t know exactly.
  • I am also a foreigner here.

Things to consider when giving specific directions for a location in English

The third stage of the address description in English is the phrases of describing a location or showing it. In other words, these phrases reflect the situations that are for responders rather than questioners. You can describe the location you are in or you will go by using the following English phrases:
  • The bank is on the right.
  • Blue Restaurant is on the left.
  • City Hotel will be on your left after you pass the traffic lights.
  • The hospital is over there on the right.
  • The pharmacy is upstairs/downstairs.
  • The hairdresser is on the ground floor in the shopping center.
  • The ticket office is opposite the bank.

Things to consider when describing directions and routes in English

There are various direction phrases to describe the address you want to reach in English. In order to select one of the different route alternatives, you can choose among different phrases, such as going straight, turning right or left, and describe the directions in English.

Sentences that indicate moving forward:
  • Go straight ahead.
  • Walk along the Park Road.
  • Go ahead this street.
  • Take this road.
  • Go straight on until you see the mosque.
  • Go ahead for a mile.
Sentences that indicate moving in different directions:
  • Take the first turning on the right. / Take the first right.
  • Turn right / Turn left at the traffic lights.
  • Take the fourth street on the left.
  • Turn right at the second corner.
  • Take the first exit at the T-junction and then turn left.
  • Turn left at the third corner.
  • Take a left when you see the sign for the campus gate.
You can use the following English phrases to express other moves on the route.
  • Go roundabout.
  • Go past the bank; the cinema is on the right.
  • Go over the bridge.
  • Cross the street. / Go across the street.
  • Take the elevator and go upstairs; the real estate agent is on the fourth floor.
  • Walk down the street.
  • Go up the hill.
  • Keep going down the main street.
  • If you take this road, you’ll see the car park on the right.

If you want to use this language fluently, you can use English Ninjas platform for all the topics, including the things to consider in describing directions in English, and you can practice your foreign language with instructors who are native speakers of English.

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