Introduction:

Anybody who has travelled to another country or city has got lost. Sometimes maps don't help, so you have to ask somebody for directions. If you're in a country where they don't speak your language, this can be difficult. At other times, you will have to give directions to people visiting your country. In many cases, people just follow the direction the person was pointing to, and hope they will find the place they are looking for. So, it's very important to know how to both ask for and give directions in English.

In this online exercise, we will look at the essential vocabulary used to both ask for and to give directions in English.


Exercise: Receiving directions

A visitor to the city of York in the North of England asks a person in the street for directions to the Silk Cottage restaurant. Read the directions that she is given and compare them with the below map of York that shows the route. The visitor receives the directions at the red marker with the letter 'S' on the left of the map. The restaurant is located where the red marker with the letter 'F' is, at the top right of the map.

Using both the directions and the map, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.



Visitor:'Excuse me, could you tell me the way to the Silk Cottage restaurant please?'

York Resident:'Eh, the Silk Cottage restaurant. It's on the other side of the river. The easiest way to get there is to go right from here and then take the second street on your left. Then go along the street until you reach a junction. Turn left at the junction, and you'll be on a big road then. Then go straight ahead.

You'll then come to a bridge, go over the bridge. It is better to cross over the road after the bridge, there's a pedestrian crossing there. Then follow the road until you reach a big church, which is called York Minster. Take the road on your right which is in front of York Minster and then go past the Minster.

Then take the first street on your left, then go up the road until the first street on your right and the Silk Cottage restaurant is there. Opposite is a big building called the Treasurer's House. Is that ok?'


 Link to Dictionary


Quiz: Street directions in English vocabulary

Listen to the recording in English of a man giving directions to the 'Yorkshire Insurance Building' in Leeds. They are both at the red S marker at the bottom of the below map. The Yorkshire Insurance Building is one of the three blue markers at the top of the map. Follow the directions and complete the dialogue below with the man's instructions, by choosing the word/phrase from the question's selection box. In the last question choose if the location of the Yorkshire Insurance Building is A, B or C.

Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

 Listen

Visitor:'Excuse me, I'm looking for the Yorkshire Insurance Building, do you know where it is?'

Leeds Resident:

1. Yeah, it's in the centre on the other side of the river. Right, from here .          

Go right:
(verb) It can also be used with 'left'. It has the same meaning as 'make a left/right'. In Spanish: "ve a la derecha".

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Go right:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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2. Then when you the end of the street,          

Reach:
(verb) It has the same meaning as 'to arrive at', but doesn't use a preposition, e.g. 'when you reach the bridge'. In Spanish: "llegar a".

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Reach:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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3. you need to again.          

Turn right:
(verb) It is used with both left or right. In Spanish: "dobla a la derecha".

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Turn right:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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4. the road until you reach the bridge.          

Go along:
(verb) It has the same meaning as follow. It is used for roads/streets/rivers/paths/corridors etc... It is often followed by until, e.g. 'go along the road until the traffic lights'. In Spanish: "sigue".

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Go along:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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5. It's best to the road before the bridge.          

Cross over:
(verb) It means to go from one side of the road to the other, by walking across the road. 'To cross over' is not used for parks or squares, where 'to go across' or 'to cross' are used, e.g. 'Then cross the square'. In Spanish: "cruza".

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Cross over:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6. Then the bridge.          

Go over:
(verb) In this context it has a similar meaning to 'to go across'. This is used for bridges and rivers, and it also strangely can be used for roads. It is not used for parks or squares, where 'to go across' or 'to cross' are used, e.g. 'Then go across the park'. In Spanish: "pasa por".

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Go over:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7. Then carry on until you is a roundabout.          

In front of:
(adverb) It has a similar meaning to 'opposite', but means that something is closer than 'opposite', e.g. 'I park my car in front of my house'. In Spanish: "delante de".

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In front of:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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8. At the roundabout, first street on your left.          

Take the:
(verb) It is used for roads/streets/exits. It is followed with 'on your right/left' e.g. 'take the second road on your left'. In Spanish: "toma".

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Take the:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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9. Then that street.          

Go up:
(verb) It should be used if a street or road is on a hill, and you walk/drive in the direction of the highest point. Although it is often used if the street or road isn't on a hill, to mean 'to follow' the road. 'To go down' is the opposite. In Spanish: "sube".

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Go up:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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10. the church called Leeds Minster. Then, at the end of the street you'll reach a junction.          

Go past:
(verb) It means to walk or drive past things on your journey. It is used as extra information, to help you, e.g. 'go past the police station'. In Spanish: "pasa".

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Go past:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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11. Cross over the road and go up the street in front of you on your right. At the end of the street, turn left and then take the first road on your right, then until you reach the end of the street.          

Go straight ahead:
(verb) Basically, it means 'to go forward' or 'to continue forward', although neither of these are used with directions. In Spanish: "sigue derecho/todo recto".

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Go straight ahead:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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12. The Yorkshire Insurance Building is in front of you, a square.          

Opposite:
(adverb) It has a similar meaning to 'in front of', but means that something is further away than 'in front of', like on the other side of the street, e.g. 'There's a supermarket opposite my house'. In Spanish: "enfrente de".

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Opposite:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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13. The Yorkshire Insurance Building is located at marker          

Congratulations, you have choosen the right letter.

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Practice

Now that you understand the ask for/give directions vocabulary, practice them by describing different routes on the maps in English or by decribing how to get to your office or house.

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