Giving and Asking for Directions

Giving and Asking for Directions

Vocabulary and Key Terminologies

  • Familiarise yourself with key vocabulary related to directions. Some common words include “izquierda” (left), “derecha” (right), “recto” (straight ahead), “cerca” (near), “lejos” (far), “al lado de” (next to), “enfrente de” (opposite), “entre” (between), etc.
  • Learn the different types of roads and landmarks to help make sense of directions. For example: la calle (street), la avenida (avenue), la plaza (square), el puente (bridge), la rotonda (roundabout), el semáforo (traffic light).
  • Be comfortable with prepositions of place: “a la derecha de” (to the right of), “a la izquierda de” (to the left of), “al final de” (at the end of), “al fondo de” (at the bottom of), “en el centro de” (in the middle of).
  • Familiarise yourself with various forms of transport you might use to get somewhere, such as “en coche” (by car), “en autobús” (by bus), or “a pie” (on foot).

Verbs and Expressions

  • Know how to use the imperative, as it’s the form of the verb often used when giving instructions or directions in Spanish. For example: ‘Vaya’ (go), ‘Tome’ (take), ‘Siga’ (keep).

Asking for and Understanding Directions

  • Practice phrases for asking for directions, such as: ¿Cómo se va a…? (How do you go to…?), ¿Dónde está…? (Where is…?), ¿Está lejos? (Is it far?), ¿Está cerca? (Is it nearby?).
  • Remember, typically in Spain and many Latin American countries, people use ‘usted’ for formal situations or when you’re talking to someone you don’t know well. So in asking for direction, it’s safer to use: ¿Puede decirme cómo llegar a…? (Could you tell me how to get to…?)
  • Practice understanding directions; be aware that Spanish-speaking people might use terms relative to their position, like ‘subir’ and ‘bajar’ (go up / go down the street) based on geographical features, not necessarily immediately understandable for a non-native.

Practice and Review

  • Frequently review these terms and phrases, incorporate them in your speech and writing where you can, and practise in real life situations. Listening exercises could also be very beneficial.
  • Try role-playing scenarios in which you ask people for directions and they give you instructions. This will prepare you for potential conversations and help develop your responsive listening skills.
  • Lastly, remember to say “Gracias” (Thank you) when someone helps you with directions!