Here is some useful vocabulary for asking for directions in English – and also for giving directions. You can use these phrases in a business context.
Asking for directions
Use these phrases when you’re asking for directions from another person. For example, if you have a meeting in their office you can ask:
“How do I get to your office?”
“Can you tell me the best way of getting to your office?”
“What’s the quickest way of getting to your office?”
“Where are you exactly?”
You can use these phrases when you reply to someone who’s asking for directions:
“Will you be coming by car or by train?”
“It’s much easier if you take the train.”
“Which hotel are you staying at?”
General information in English
Give the other person some idea of where you are:
“We’re not far from…” or “We’re quite close to…”
“It’s about a mile / kilometre / two blocks from…”
“We’re opposite / next to / in front of / across the road from / round the corner from the supermarket.”
Giving directions in English
“Come off the motorway / highway at Junction / Exit 12.”
“It’s signposted ‘Manchester’.”
“Follow the signs to …”
“There’s a one-way system in the centre of town.”
“Take the ‘A12’ to ‘Chelmsford’.”
“Go straight on / left / right at the lights / at the roundabout /at the junction of … and …”
“Go past the supermarket.”
“You’ll come to / see …”
“It’s the first turning on the right after the bank.”
Use landmarks to help
“Landmarks” are points of reference and help the other person understand where to find you or your office.
“You’ll see a large sign / roundabout.”
“On your left you’ll see an industrial centre / a hospital / the police station.”
“Just after the level crossing / shopping centre (or mall).”
“Go past the petrol station / the garage.”
If you’re giving directions over the phone, remember to speak slowly to allow the other person to write things down.
Check that the other person has understood.
If you’re speaking face-to-face with someone, use your hands to show left, right, or straight on.
Use “please” when you ask someone to give you directions. It’s polite, and will normally get you what you want!
Asking for Directions Quiz
Level: Elementary and above
- Use the future continuous (''Will you be getting / coming here'') or the present continuous (''Are you getting / coming here'') to ask about the person's travel intentions
- When we say how long a journey is we use the verb take
- We normally say ''come off'' or ''leave'' the motorway. (At a junction or an exit.)
- It would also be correct to use the preposition to instead of for
- After words like ''when'' which refer to the future, use a present tense. (''When you get to'' and not ''when you'll get to''.)
- ''Traffic lights'' = the lights which go from red to amber (orange) to green.
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