Advanced English: Giving Directions

There are lots of ways for giving directions in English.

Make sure you know the basic ways first, then check out these native expressions and phrasal verbs. They’re a little more advanced, but you’re likely to hear them in real-life conversations. The section on different roads also includes useful vocabulary.

Phrases For Giving Directions

Your best bet is to... = your best choice is to …
Imagine a situation where you want to get to the station. You ask someone who says:

“Mmm. The station… Your best bet is to turn around and go back the way you came. Then you’ll see the station on your left.”

You’re best (off) … (+ing) = the best thing for you is to …
“You’re best (off) taking the next road on your right.”
“You’re best driving there – it’s quite a long way.”

This is similar to:
You’re better off … (+ ing) = when you have a choice of two things, one is better than the other
“I don’t know if it’s quicker to go down the High Street. I think you’re better off cutting through the park here.”

Go the long way round = go the longer route
“If you take this road, you’ll go the long way round. It’s shorter if you go via the post office.”

(a bit of a) short cut = when one way makes your journey shorter
“This road is a bit of a short cut. It’ll take you to the station quicker.”

double back on yourself / go back the way you came = return in the direction you took
“You’re going the wrong way. Go back the way you came, but then turn right at the lights.”
“You’ll need to double back on yourself, then turn right at the lights.”

Phrasal Verbs For Giving Directions

cut / nip across = go across something (nip = do something fast)
“If you cut across the park, you’ll get there quicker.”
“Just nip across the park and you’ll be there in a minute.”

cut through = get through (traffic / the town, etc)
“You can cut through the traffic further down the road.”
“We cut through the park to save time.”

cut / nip down = go down a smaller street to save time
“If you nip down that road there, you’ll see the station on your right.”

pop down = go down a road quickly
“Just pop down this road and you’ll find it on your right.”

come out at / on = arrive at
“This alleyway comes out at the High Street.”

end up in = where you finally arrive
“Don’t take that road, or you’ll end up in London!”

Advanced Vocabulary: Types Of Roads

alleyway = a narrow road (often not big enough for cars) between two rows of houses, or between houses and a road / railway line
“Don’t walk down that alleyway at night. There’s no street lighting.”

a one-way street = where traffic only goes in one direction (not both)
“You can’t go down here – it’s a one-way street!”

a dead end / no-through road = where the road stops and doesn’t go any further
“You can’t get on to the main road down here – it’s a no-through road.”
“We tried this turning before, but it’s a dead end.”

a back street / road = a road that’s far enough away from the main road to make it quiet
“Our sat nav took us through all the back streets of the town.”

a bypass / ring road = a road that goes round a town or city so that you can avoid the traffic
“It’s quicker if you get on the bypass and then get off again at the industrial estate.”
“You can’t get on the ring road from here. Go up to the next junction then follow the signs.”

a dual carriageway = where you have two lanes of traffic in both directions
“Most of our journey was on dual carriageway, so it was quite quick.”


Advanced English: Giving Directions

When YOU know the essential phrases and vocabulary that native speakers use…
– you’ll be more fluent in conversation
– you’ll speak with more confidence
– you won’t need to translate all the time

My program Real English Conversations gives you the essential phrases that native English speakers use in common situations. Check it out here!