“Knowing how to introduce yourself well, and the ability to describe people and places, are all part of good communication and relating to the world around you.”
Asking for Directions
A good way to familiarise yourself with a new area or part of town, is to get a map! You can get to know road names and where important shops and services are, like the nearest train or bus station. Another way of getting to know your local area, is to take a walk around the neighbourhood. This is an ideal opportunity to see how far the supermarket is from your address, or if there’s a local newsagent near you!
Here are some useful questions you could ask, if you need to find your way around a new area:
- Do you know where the ___ is?
- Do you know if there’s a ___ near here?
- Is the ___ far from here?
- I don’t know if you could tell me where the ___ is?
- I wonder if you could tell me where the ___ is?
The last two examples are quite formal, although it is polite to begin by saying ‘excuse me’ e.g. “Excuse me, could you tell me if there is a ___ near here?”, “Excuse me. I wonder if you could help? Would you be able to tell me where the ___ is, please?”.
‘Excuse me’ and ‘please’ are known as courtesies (ways of showing or expressing politeness), so remember to say ‘thank you’ as well, e.g. “Thanks for your help!”.
When giving directions, we use prepositions, which help to locate a particular place or building. Listen again to the directions each person gives in the video above, and see if you recognise any of the following prepositional phrases:
- turn right/left
- go straight on
- turn left/right at
- next to
- in front of
- on the right/left
- to the left/right of
- at the end of
- go through/under
- cross over
You will hear and need to use these phrases when giving and taking directions, so practise by using them in conversation!
- Directions – Listening and reading practice.
- Giving directions – Listening and comprehension practice.