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Vocabulary: asking and giving directions
At some point, we've all had to ask our way, or on the contrary, to give directions to someone who's asking us for this information. Besides, if you take into account the temporary events such as road works, or even the street signs, daring to answer may be a real challenge. You must be quick, clear, efficient and fast: you should never mislead a lost pedestrian or driver. That's why it's very useful to have "landmarks", which are easy to be found so as to make the find easier.
I) How to ask one's way.
- Excuse me, what is the easiest/ quickest way to (go to) Shepherds' Lane, please?
- How do I get to Main Street, please?
- Can you tell me the quickest way to the station, please?
- How long will it take to go to ..., please?
2) How to help strangers, giving them directions? = to GO+ direction+ landmarks (famous place or monument, distance, length of time needed)
a) Words indicating places and directions: they are adjectives, adverbs or prepositions.
- across/ on/to the left/ on/ to the right// down/ up/ between/ in front of/ opposite/ past/ through (a tunnel)/ over/ under(a bridge).
b) The verbs to use (considering the different means of transport).
- if you give information to a pedestrian: to go/ to follow/ to turn/ to walk: - For the station, walk down this road for 5 minutes...
- if it's to a car-driver or a bike-rider: - To go up/ down/ to follow/ to turn/ take a road/ a street/ drive/ ride/ turn right/ turn left/ turn round/ stay on/
c) Transition words:
- First/ After that/ Then/ Next/ When/ Finally (= destination).
- First, you take Main Street as far as the Post office; after that, turn right and then stay on Ocean Drive for half a mile, next, take the third exit at the roundabout and you'll finally reach the swimming pool, next to a big play area.
d) Landmarks: they're monuments or public places known by the people who can easily locate them. (Banks - Famous or big shops - restaurants etc.)
The Fire Station
The cinema/ movie (theater)
A park (with a bridge)
A petrol/ gas/ station
A "no-entry" street
e) Warnings and additional advice to give:
- Be careful with your bike: the slope down is steep and slippery!
- Go slow, there are many schools on the way.
- There might still be road repairs and diversions.
- It's very difficult to park downtown.
- Are you sure you get it all? (sure you have understood what I said?).
and if you're not sure you know the answer:
- I'm sorry! I'm not from here! I have no idea!
There you are!... now ready to indicate directions to any person in your city or neighbourhood... As for the test, it will be very easy to reach perfection! and for that, you have THE FORCE!
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