How to Ask for Directions – Intermediate ESL Learners
Are you traveling to an English speaking country? Do you know how to ask for directions? Review the vocabulary, read tips, learn common idioms, and practice the present simple tense.
Before You Go
Find Wi-Fi access and download maps and direction apps that don’t require data. Find directions to where you are going while you have Wi-Fi and take a screenshot. Find a map of the city. If your phone stops working, you have a paper map. Locate your residence/hotel on the map before you go. Locate the closest public transportation stop as well. Give yourself time to get where you are going.
Relax-being lost helps us see other places we might have missed!
Don’t stop someone who is rushing. They might be late. Find someone who does not seem to be in a hurry.
● Make eye contact and smile.
● If you do not understand, ask the person to slow down and repeat.
● Say the directions back to the person. It will help you remember them.
● Make visual notes while the person describes the route.
● Be sure to thank them!
The supermarket is between the office building and the movie theater.
The pharmacy is behind the supermarket.
Turn back if you get to the roundabout.
Go back to the intersection and turn right instead of left.
Go down Main Street and to the first light. The bank is on the corner.
Go over the bridge and you’ll see the duck pond.
Go through the intersection and you’ll see the bank on the left.
Go up the stairs and you’ll see your gate.
The bus stop is in front of the school.
The bus station is beside the train station.
The ticket office is near the exit.
Asking for Directions
“Excuse me, I’m lost. Can you tell me where 5th Street is?”
“Can you please tell me how to get to the movie theater?”
“How do you get to the train station?”
“Where can I find the nearest bakery?”
“How do I get to the park?”
“Is there a supermarket near here?”
“Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Lombard Street?”
“Sure. Go straight for 3 blocks and turn left onto St. Paul Street. There is a large statue in the
“Turn left at the large statue.”
“Yes. Lombard is the next intersection.”
“Thank you so much!”
“Excuse me, can you please tell me how to get to the baseball stadium?”
“Sure. Do you see the bridge in the distance?”
“Walk under the bridge and turn right onto Conway Street. The stadium will be straight ahead. Follow the crowds!”
Step in the right direction
An action that is expected to bring good results or one that advances a course of action.
“Studying is a step in the right direction.”
Go in circles
To be very active but not achieve anything.
“This argument is not going anywhere. We’re just going in circles.”
Do an about face
To change one’s position completely.
“I thought you wanted to be a doctor. Studying history is such an about face.”
Present Simple (I do)
Do + I/we/you/they + drive
Does + he/she/it + walk
Do you drive to work?
Does she walk to school everyday?
Does it take long to get there?
Do you how to get to the metro?
I/we/you/they + don’t + work
He/she/it + doesn’t + talk
I don’t walk to work.
He doesn’t drive to work.
They don’t ride bikes to school.
They don’t cross the street unless the light is green.
Use the present simple to discuss things in general. Use it to talk about something that happens regularly, repeatedly, or all the time. It can be also used for something that is true.
Bus drivers have their own lane.
I usually go into the city on the weekends.
We visit museums when we travel.
The bus arrives in 15 minutes.
Use the present simple to say how often you do things
I ride the bus every day.
We usually take the freeway.
They don’t eat out very often.
How often does the bus come?
Use the present simple to promise or apologize using words such
As advise, insist, agree or refuse.
I refuse to listen to your music.
I advise you to follow the rules.
We agree with your views.
I insist that you stop drinking.
Make questions using ‘do/does’. Also use it to make negative sentences.