Giving Directions in English

Published on: 02/12/2019 By

When you’re in a country you don’t know, you can easily get lost at some point during the trip, even if you have a map. So it’s really useful to know how to ask for and understand directions in English so you can reach your destination. It’s also great to be able to give directions yourself to tourists or foreign colleagues.

So what words and phrases can help you give and ask for directions? Read on to find out!


First of all, you need to know some basic vocabulary. The most important words and phrases are:

It’s also helpful to know some common places people visit in a city, such as the following:

Here are some examples:


  • Go along the street until you reach the traffic lights.
  • You’ll see a bank on the left.
  • It’s about two blocks from here.
  • I prefer going to the airport on the highway because it’s faster.


Some prepositions and adverbs can also help when you’re giving directions:

For example,


  • My office building is in front of the mall.
  • Go straight on for about one kilometre.
  • The cinema is next to the bank.



Asking for directions

When you ask for directions, remember above all to be polite. So start by saying one of the following phrases:


  • Hello. Can you help me, please?
  • Good morning. May I ask for some help?
  • Excuse me, could you help?


Once you have someone’s attention, you can ask for help to reach your destination. You can do that by using one of these phrases:


  • Could you tell me how to get to the bank?
  • Do you know where the museum is?
  • We can’t find the subway station. Is it near here?
  • Where can we find a park near here?


If you’re not sure you’re going in the right direction, you can make sure by asking:


  • Are we on the right road to the city center?
  • Is this the right way to the mall?
  • What’s the best way to get to the airport?



Giving directions

In the same way that you need to ask directions when you travel abroad, foreigners visiting your city might ask you directions, and what better way to practice English than to help them? 🙂

Here are some common phrases you can use:

    • Go past the cinema. (Pass the cinema.)
    • Go along this road.
    • Go straight on/ahead. (Stay on this road – don’t turn.)


  • Go through the tunnel.
  • At the roundabout, take the first exit.
  • Turn left at the crossroads.
  • Take the second right.
  • It’s on your left.
  • You’ll see it in front of you.
  • It’s on the other side of the road.
  • You’re going the wrong way.



If you travel abroad for work or pleasure, knowing how to ask and understand directions is really important. 


The best way to learn directions is to do a proper English course that gives you the chance to practice in a controlled environment with guidance and feedback. At Wall Street English you can learn how to give and understand directions through fun interactive activities and by practicing in small classes led by native teachers.


Do this short quiz to find out what level you are and start learning now!



This post has been adapted and translated from the original content by WSE Argentina here: Aprendé a pedir y a dar direcciones en inglés


Mary Milne avatar

Mary Milne

Author of this post

Mary Milne has worked for Wall Street English for 20 years. After studying at the University of Bristol and subsequently doing a CELTA course, she began her career in teaching. Over the years she has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in ESL and has worked as an Online Community Manager, and author for Wall Street English International and Pearson, writing informative educational content. She dedicates most of her free time to music, playing in a band and singing in a choir.

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