No matter how good you are at reading a map or following your GPS, we all get lost from time to time. Being able to ask for directions is an essential skill to have especially when traveling. It gives you a lot of security and keeps you from getting lost.

Below, we'll teach you phrases that will help you both ask for as well as give directions. Check them out and start mastering these valuable skills!

Asking for Directions

In this table we've gathered lots of examples of different ways you can ask for directions. Take a look at them and then try forming your own questions!
Could you tell me how to get to the movie theater?
 
How do I find the city center?
 
Do you know how to get to city hall?
 
How do I get to the city park?
 
Can you tell me how to get to the market square?
 
Could you show me the way to the nearest bank?
 
What's the best way to get to the post office from here?
 
Where's the nearest supermarket?
 
Could you direct me to the university?
 
How far is it to Alexander Street?
 
 
Could you tell me how to get to the movie theater?
If you are lost and need to ask someone for directions, you can use the sentence pattern Could you tell me how to get to + PLACE? to get help. The person you ask will then most likely try to help you. For example, like this: Sure, turn left at the next intersection and you'll see it up ahead on your right.
How do I find the city center?
When trying to find a specific place within a town or city, you can get help from somebody by asking questions using the sentence pattern How do I find + PLACE?. The person you ask will then probably try to help you, and might say something like Just keep following this street.
Do you know how to get to city hall?
A common way of asking for directions is to ask somebody if they know the way to the place you are going to. You can form questions to ask for directions this way by using the sentence pattern Do you know how to get to + PLACE?. In response, somebody might say Unfortunately, I'm not really sure where that is.
How do I get to the city park?
One way to get directions is to ask somebody a question using the sentence pattern How do I get to + PLACE?. If the person knows the way, then they might say something like If you take the metro, you'll be able to find it easily.
Could you show me the way to the nearest bank?
You can ask someone to show you how to get somewhere by using the sentence pattern Could you show me the way to + PLACE?. The person you ask will then likely try to help you. For example, they might then say I can show you on your phone, if you'd like?.
Could you direct me to the university?
A more formal way of asking for directions is the sentence pattern Could you direct me to + PLACE?. Use this sentence pattern whenever you want to be extra polite when trying to get help from someone. In response, the person might say something like If you follow this street and turn right at the second stop light, you'll be able to find it.

Giving Directions

Here you'll find lots of example sentences of how to give directions in English. Have a look and try creating your own sentences!
Turn left onto Oak Street and then walk down to the end of the street.
 
Go down this street and then turn right.
 
The hotel isn't far from the city park.
 
If you turn right at the intersection then you'll see the library on your right.
 
Town hall is on the corner of Market Street.
 
The restaurant is right next to the old firehouse.
 
Turn left at the light and then walk about another 300 feet.
 
The bank is behind city hall.
 
Cross this street, then turn left and walk about a block.
 
If you take the subway for two stations then you'll be on Willow Street.
 
 
Turn left at the light and then walk about another 300 feet
In the United States, the measurement feet is commonly used when giving directions. Someone will most likely tell you how many feet you need to walk to your destination when it is close by. This is because one foot is quite small. One foot is equal to about 30 centimeters and one meter is made up of about 3.2 feet.
Cross this street, then turn left and walk about a block
A block is a measurement of distance that is very commonly used in the United States. One block equals the distance between two intersections that are connected by one street. You'll most likely hear this measurement of distance being used in directions if you travel to a city in the US. Cities there are often neatly organized into blocks, so that the city itself becomes like a grid. Because of this, it's easy to use these blocks as references for distance.

Answers to the Most Common Questions

What are the most essential English phrases I should know when giving and asking for directions?
  • Could you tell me how to get to the movie theater?
  • Do you know how to get to city hall?
  • Can you tell me how to get to the market square?
  • Could you show me the way to the nearest bank?
  • How do I find the city center?
  • Where's the nearest supermarket?
  • Go down this street and then turn right.
  • Turn left at the light and then walk about another 300 feet.
How can I ask for directions to somewhere?
There are several ways to ask for directions. You could use any of the following:

Could you tell me how to get to + PLACE?
  • Could you tell me how to get to the movie theater?
  • Could you tell me how to get to the city center?
  • Could you tell me how to get to the town hall?


How do I find + PLACE?
  • How do I find the city center?
  • How do I find the university?
  • How do I find the library?


Do you know how to get to + PLACE?
  • Do you know how to get to city hall?
  • Do you know how to get to the market square?
  • Do you know how to get to the mall?


How do I get to + PLACE?
  • How do I get to the city park?
  • How do I get to the biology department?
  • How do I get to the university library?


Could you show me the way to + PLACE?
  • Could you show me the way to the nearest bank?
  • Could you show me the way to the supermarket?
  • Could you show me the way to the town hall?


A more formal way to ask for directions is:

Could you direct me to + PLACE?
  • Could you direct me to the university?
  • Could you direct me to the nearest police station?
  • Could you direct me to the library?
How is distance measured in English-speaking countries?
The United States measures distance quite differently from most other countries. The main measurements used are miles and feet. Most other English-speaking countries use primarily kilometers and meters to measure distance. However, some actually use a mix of both. The United Kingdom for example officially uses the metric system (kilometers and meters), but the imperial system (miles and feet) is still commonly used in daily life. When giving directions in a city, Americans would also use blocks to indicate the distance between two intersections that are connected by one street.