Asking for directions or public transportation

Finding your way in a new place can be quite hard, but when you use the right vocabulary and phrases, asking for and giving directions in English can become easier.

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Tips for Question Words in English


Asking for Directions in English

In this article, we teach you some useful vocabulary for asking for directions in English and also for giving directions. You can use these phrases in a business context too.


How to ask 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?


Getting information


You can use these phrases when you reply to someone who’s asking for directions:


  • Will you be coming by bus or by subway?
  • It’s much easier if you take the subway.
  • 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 / kilometer / 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


Here are a few sample ways for giving directions to someone to find you.


  • Come off the motorway / highway at Junction / Exit 9.
  • It’s signposted ‘Chelsea’.
  • Follow the signs to …
  • There’s a one-way system in the centre of town.
  • Take the ‘B13’ to ‘ Westminster’.
  • Go straight on / left / right at the lights / at the roundabout /at the junction of … and …
  • Go past the bank.
  • You’ll come to / see …
  • It’s the first turn on the right after the hotel.


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 center / a hospital / the police station.
  • Just after the level crossing / shopping centre (or mall).
  • Go past the petrol station / the garage.


Final tips


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. For example, tell the other person to repeat what he has written down. Also, if in your address or directions, there are names of places that may become confusing, make sure to ask the other person to read them back to you letter by letter.


If you’re speaking face-to-face with someone, use your hands to show left, right, or straight on.


Lastly, use please when you ask someone to give you directions. It’s polite, and will normally get you what you want!



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Conversation Tips for Giving Directions


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