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Asking for and giving directions

If you don’t know how to get to a certain place, it is a good idea to ask for directions. Here are some standard expressions you can use while asking for directions.

Speaking tip

Start by saying ‘Excuse me’. This is a standard expression English speakers use before interrupting or disturbing somebody. If you don’t say ‘Excuse me’ people might think that you are rude.

    Excuse me. Do you know where the nearest post office / railway station / bookstore / library / gas station is?

    Excuse me. Do you know how to get to the nearest shopping mall?

    Excuse me. Could you tell me where the post office is?

    Excuse me. I was looking for the post office. Do you know where it is?

    Excuse me. Could you give me directions to the railway station?

    Excuse me. Is the railway station far from here?

    Excuse me. How do I get to the Citi Bank? Is it far from here?

    Excuse me. What is the best way to get to Mumbai?

Giving directions

When somebody gives you direction, you will hear them using expressions like ‘take a left’, ‘take a right’, ‘go straight’ etc. When somebody asks you to take a left, they are asking you to take a left turn.

Sample pieces of conversation are given below.

Conversation 1

    A: Excuse me. I am looking for the gas station. Do you know where it is?

    B: It is not far from here. Take a left at the next light. It is on the right.

    A: Thank you.

    B: You are welcome.

Conversation 2

    A: Excuse me. Where is the nearest movie theatre?

    B: When you get to the MG Street, take a right. Then keep going for about 200 metres. It is on your left.

Conversation 3

    A: Excuse me. Where is the post office?

    B: Take a right when you come to a stop sign.

Conversation 4

    A: Excuse me. Where is the gas station?

    B: It is just around the corner. Turn right after you pass Bank of America.

Conversation 5

    A: Excuse me. Is there a shopping mall here?

    B: Yes, there is one just around the corner. / Yes, there is one on the corner.

Conversation 6

    A: Excuse me. I was looking for the Bank of America. Could you tell me where it is?

    B: It is not far from here. Take a right at the traffic lights and go straight on. It is on the left.

Conversation 7

    A: Excuse me. Where is the post office?

    B: Go straight ahead. It is on the left.

Grammar notes

Far is used in questions and negatives. A long way is used in affirmative clauses.

  • ‘Is the station far from here?’ ‘No, it is not far from here. It is just around the corner.’
  • ‘Is the post office far from here?’ ‘Yes, it is a long way from here.’

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