Giving Directions | Mini lesson

Giving Directions around Town and on Campus

Listening & Speaking Practice

Level: Beginner to Intermediate

This lesson can be completed individually or in pairs, and is ideal if you are a Beginner Intermediate English learner. These activities are designed to help you improve your listening, speaking, grammar, and writing skills while giving and receiving directions.

Exercise 1: Write your answers to the following questions or discuss them in pairs.

  1. Do you like going out to the movies?


  1. What kinds of movies do you like to see?


Exercise 2: Look at the map below, and practice saying out loud some of the places.

Then, click on and listen to the “Where’s the Movie Theater?” (1:21) conversation between Steve (located at “X Start Here”) and Ranae, and answer the questions.

  1. Why does Steve call Ranae? ____________________________
  2. What day is Steve going out with Jennifer? ____________________________
  3. Which building number is the movie theater?___________________________
  4. Where is the restaurant located? What is it called?_________________________

Exercise 3: Read the transcript of the audio conversation, and check your answers above. Then, practice saying the conversation aloud to yourself. If working in pairs, practice the conversation together.

Steve: Hey, Ranae. Do you happen to know where the movie theater is downtown? The one near the hospital.

Ranae: Yeah. Why do you want to know?

Steve: Well, on Monday, I asked Jennifer out on a date for this coming Saturday night.

Ranae: Wow. You’ve really been seeing a lot of her lately. Sounds great. Okay, write down these directions so you don’t get lost.

Steve: Okay, go ahead.

Ranae: First, drive down 1st street going west, cross the river, and keep going straight until Pine Street.

Steve: Until Pine Street, right?

Ranae: Right. Then turn left, and the movie theater is the second building on the right. It’s next to the church.

Steve: Second building on the right. Got it. Now, can you recommend any nice restaurants?

Ranae: Yeah. The Pink Flamingo serves excellent Spanish food.

Steve: Well where’s that?

Ranae: Well, starting from the movie theater, go south on Pine Street, cross 2nd Street, and drive to 3rd Street. You’ll see a parking lot on the left side of the street. Okay so far?

Steve: A parking lot on the left. Okay. Then what?

Ranae: Okay, then turn left on 3rd Street and drive east. The Pink Flamingo is the building just before the river on the left side. I think it’s open weekdays from 10:30 in the morning to 11:30 at night, but it stays open until midnight on the weekends.

Steve: Okay, I think I’ve driven by there before. Oh, last thing. Where can I buy some flowers? We’re going out to celebrate Jennifer’s birthday.

Ranae: Well the only florist I know is in front of the stadium on 2nd Street. Try that one.

Steve: Great. Thanks a lot.

Exercise 4: It is also important to know the cardinal directions (North, South, East, West) when giving directions. These directions will provide your listener with exact information about how to understand your directions.











Exercise 5: Match the following vocabulary words with their meanings. Practice saying the words aloud.

  1. lost ________
  2. address__________
  3. intersection__________
  4. station__________
  5. block__________
  6. street__________
  7. sign__________
  8. subway__________
  9. stops__________
  10. corner_________


A. a place of building where modes of public transport stop

B. a location with a number, street, and city designation

C. a display showing the name of the street

D. location where cars drive; buildings are built along the side

E. an underground mode of public transportation

F. not able to find a location

G. places where public transport halt to let people off and awaiting passengers on

H. the meeting place at the end of two streets

I. the space between one street and another

J. the place where two streets cross one another.

Exercise 6: Learning to use prepositions – in, at, on – is important for giving directions. First, read the chart, which describes the meaning and uses of prepositions of place. Then, write the correct preposition for the following locations. If working in pairs, test each other by saying “Let’s meet…” and have your partner finish the sentence with the correct preposition.

Prepositions for Place Prepositions for Times

·       To talk about the point itself or inside = in

·       To express something contained = inside

·       To talk about surface = on

·       General vicinity/in front of/area nearby = at

·       A specific corner or intersection = at

·       For days (e.g. Monday) = on

·       noon, night, midnight, specific time of day = at

·       other parts of the day, months, years, seasons = in



“Let’s meet…” at Curtin Hall.

1.     __at/in_ Curtin Hall

2.     _______ Room 119

3.     _______ The corner of Downer Street

4.     _______ 3:00 pm

5.     _______ The movie theater

6.     _______ The front yard

7.     _______ Office 674

8.     _______ Friday

9.     _______ The Mall

10.  _______ The Union

11.  _______ Burger King

12.  _______ The hallway

13.  _______ The lake

14.  _______ Room 305

15.  _______ Lynn’s Office

16.  _______ The Park

17.  _______ Downer & Fernwood

18.  _______ Starbucks



Exercise 7: If you are confused while giving or listening to directions, it is important to ask clarification questions. Examine the list of clarification questions below, and practice saying them aloud. Notice that some are more formal (at the top) and others less formal (at the bottom).

more formal

Would you mind + gerund that again, please?

Could you explain . . . for me, please?

Could you explain . . . ?

What do you mean by . . . ?

What is . . . ?

What exactly is . . . ?

Sorry, what does . . . mean?

What does . . . mean?

What’s that?


less formal


Exercise 8: Complete the following sentences with the expressions above. Make sure your sentences are grammatically correct.

  1. I beg your pardon but I don’t quite understand. ___What____ do you mean by that?
  2. Pardon me, but ___________ you explain that for me, again?
  3. __________ you repeat that again, please?
  4. I ____________ (can / wonder) if you could say that in a different way?
  5. Do you ___________ (can / think) we __________ go over that again?
  6. Would you mind ___________ (repeat / repeating) that?
  7. _____________ (would / could) you mind saying that again?
  8. Sorry, but I’m not sure I’m following you. _________ (how / what / which) exactly is that you said?
  9. Excuse me, but I didn’t catch the last part. __________ (what / are / might) you saying that I am required to lift more than 100 pounds?
  10. I’m sorry, but __________ (how / what) does that mean?
  11. Do you think you could __________ (repeat / repeats / repeating) that?


Exercise 9: Take out the UWM (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) Campus Map (Giving Directions – UWM Campus Map). Pick two points from the list below (Point A: Starting Location & Point B: Ending Location). Then, practice giving directions from Point A to Point B). Practice using the vocabulary and clarification expressions you’ve learned. If working in pairs, give directions to your partner from Point A to Point B. See the example conversation below.


Point A: Library / Point B: Klotschke Gym

Student A: I’m at the Library right now. How can I get to the gym?

Student B: What’s that? Where are you?

Student A: Oh sorry, I’m at the library.

Student B: Oh, okay. Well, from the Library, first go up to Hartford. Then, take a right to go east on Hartford. Take a left to go north on Downer. It’s on the left.

UWM Campus Locations

Curtin Hall

Hartford & Downer Ave.

Lubar Hall

Maryland & Hartford Ave.

Engelmann Stadium

Newport & Maryland Ave.

The Northwest Garage

Kenwood & Maryland Av.


The Union

Klotschke Gym

Mitchell Hall

Bolton Hall

Chapman Hall

Sandburg Hall

The Library

The Physics Building