Free English Lessons

Giving Directions in English – Listening Lesson (A2)

If a tourist asked you for directions in English in your city, would you know what to say? Learn how to give directions and explain where something is in this free English listening lesson from Oxford Online English. This is a lesson for pre-intermediate learners.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Woman: Excuse me?
Man: Yeah?
Woman: I’m sorry to bother you1, but I’m completely lost. Are you from here2?
Man: Where are you trying to get to3?
Woman: Well, I was looking for the art museum, but I think I’ve taken a wrong turn4 somewhere.
Man: I think so! You’re miles away.
Woman: Really? This always happens to me. Directions are just not my thing5, I suppose.
Man: I think the best thing is to take a bus. It’ll take ages6 if you walk from here.
Woman: That’s a shame… I wanted to walk around and get a feel for the city7.
Man: I wouldn’t worry—there’s nothing to see around here, anyway. Take the bus into the centre and walk around there—it’s much more interesting.
Woman: Oh, okay. Where can I take the bus?
Man: It’s about five minutes’ walk from here. You see that hotel, on the corner, there?
Woman: The one that says “Royal Hotel”?
Man: That’s right. Go down that street to the end, then turn right. Take the first left8 and go on until you see a junction9 with traffic lights. Go over the junction, keep going straight, and you’ll see a bus stop on your left.
Woman: Go to the end, first left, turn right at the traffic lights…
Man: No, no. Go straight on, past the traffic lights.
Woman: Oh! Yes, and then…
Man: It’ll be on your left.
Woman: Right! Got it10, I think…
Man: Well, you can always ask someone else. Good luck!
Woman: Thanks!

1. I’m sorry to bother you = a very polite way to introduce a request or a question, often used when talking to people you don’t know.
2. Are you from here? = Do you live in this area?
3. Get in this sentence means “go” or “arrive”.
4. I’ve taken a wrong turn = I went the wrong way, so now I’m lost.
5. If something isn’t your thing, then you aren’t very good at it.
6. It’ll take ages = It’ll take a long time.
7. Get a feel for the city = spend time looking around the city, so you become familiar with it.
8. Take the first left = turn at the first street on the left.
9. A junction = a place where two or more streets cross.
10. Got it = I understand.

Giving Directions in English – exercise 1
Comprehension: understanding phrases in context

Some of the words in the dialogue (e.g. ‘take’) can mean many things. The exact meaning depends on the other words in the sentence and the overall context.

Listen to five excerpts from the dialogue and match them with phrases that mean the opposite.

Giving Directions in English – exercise 2
Vocabulary: collocations for directions

Collocations are combinations of words that are often used in a certain context. Other similar words might mean more or less the same, but they’d be wrong if the combination isn’t common.

Complete five gaps in a short conversation about directions using words that you hear in the recorded dialogue above.

Giving Directions in English – exercise 3
Grammar: present verb forms

The dialogue features verb forms relating to the past, present and future – this is true of most conversations!

Listen to five sentences from the dialogue and complete five rules about verb forms in the present.

Giving Directions in English – exercise 4
Pronunciation: sentence stress

Stressed syllables in English sound longer than unstressed syllables. Stressed syllables occur in words that put the meaning in the sentence – normally nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Words like ‘the’, ‘of’ and ‘and’ are not usually stressed.

Listen to five sentences from the dialogue and add the stressed words in the gaps.

More English Lessons

English Listening Lessons

Send this to a friend