Do you know how to give directions in Spanish?

In our Spanish Grammar lessons, we practice giving directions in Spanish within a hospital. In this post, I will review the essential questions, verbs, prepositional phrases, adverbs and places we learned in this series.

Arrows and people pointing in different directions

Asking for Directions 

Here is a list of all the different ways practiced asking for directions in the audio lessons: (I will use the USTED conjugation for this list. We also practice the tú conjugation in the audio lessons.)

  1.  Disculpe. Perdone. (Excuse me.) 
  2. ¿Me puede decir .... ? (Can you tell me...?)
  3. ¿Me podría decir...? (Could you tell me...?
  4. ¿Podría indicar me.... ? (Could you show me...?)
  5. ¿Cómo llego a....? (How do I get to...?)
  6. ¿Cómo se llega.... ? (How do you (does one) get to...?)
  7. ¿Sabe dónde está.... (Do you know where ____ is?)
  8. ¿Por dónde se va... (How do you (does one) go to ....?)
  9. ¿Por dónde voy....? (How do I go to .... ?)

Notes:

  • Using the conditional of poder, PODRÍA, makes the request more formal and polite, but
is certainly not necessary.
  • It is common to use the IMPERSONAL SE, as in questions #6 and #8, when asking for
directions.
  • Notice how we use the verb LLEGAR A to say "to get to." I remember when I used to
stumble over how to say this in Spanish, until I realized it was simply LLEGAR! 

Common Verbs for Giving Directions

During the exchanging we use the following verbs when asking and giving directions in the audio lesson, and we practice both the usted and tú conjugation of the verbs and their respective commands.

When appropriate, I will use the tú conjugation of the verb.

Seguir

Seguir can mean to follow or simply to go.

" Sigue este pasillo. " (Follow this hallway.)
" Sigue todo recto." (Go straight.)


Llegar a

As discussed above, LLEGAR is the Spanish equivalent of " to get to" in English. Note that we use the preposition " a" before the location to which we arrive. It is common to use the subjunctive of llegar when giving directions.

" Cuando llegues a.... " (When you get to... )


Doblar/Girar

Both are used in Spain and Latin America to say " to turn." My impression is that DOBLAR is

more common in Latin America and GIRAR is more common in Spain.

" Dobla a la izquierda. " (Turn left.)


Pasar

This verb can be used to say " to pass" or to simply express movement, as in " to enter, to move, to
go, etc."

" Pasa adelante. “(Come in or go ahead.)
" Pasa por recepción." (Go through reception.)
" Pasarás la sala de urgencias a la izquierda." (You will pass the emergency room on your left.)


Tomar

On the street you can simply say, " toma la segunda a la derecha" and it is understood that you are referring to the street.

" Toma la segunda (calle) a la derecha." (Take the second right.)
" Toma el segundo pasillo a la derecha." (Take the second hallway on your right.)
" Toma el ascensor o las escaleras." (Take the stairs or the elevators.)
" Toma la derecha." (Take a right.)


Subir

" Sube al cuarto piso." (Go up to the 4th floor.)


Bajar

" Baja al sótano." (Go down to the basement.)


Dar(se) la vuelta

" Da la vuelta y sigue derecho." (Turn around and go straight.)


Ver

" Verás los rótulos adelante." (You'll see the signs ahead.)
"¿Ves ese pasillo?" (Do you see that hallway? )


Entrar a

To express entering a location you follow it with the preposition EN or A. Many Spanish
speakers prefer the preposition A as it sounds less redundant than EN.

" Entra al hospital." (Enter the hospital.)


Cruzar

" Cruza el puente. " (Cross the bridge.)

When You Need to Get There Quickly


Tardarse mucho / poco en llegar.

(To take a long / short time to get there.)

¿Se tarda mucho en llegar? (Does it take a long time to get there? )


Se [indirect object pronoun] hace tarde.

(___ running late. )

Se me hace tarde. (I am running late.)


Está a [period of time or distance].

(It's ___ away.)

Está a dos horas de aquí. (It is two hours from here.)


Prepositional Phrases, Adverbs & Adjectives for Giving Directions

When appropriate, I will use the usted conjugation of the verb in the examples below.


A la derecha / izquierda

(to the right/left)

" Doble a la derecha. " (Turn right.)


A mano derecha / izquierda

(on the right-hand/left-hand side)

" Verá la sala de recuperación a mano derecha." (You will see the recovery room on the righthand side.)


Cerca / lejos

(close / far)
OJO: These are adverbs, so they do not change with the associated noun.

" El hospital está cerca." (The hospital is close.)


Mas cercano(a) / lejano(a)

(closest)
OJO: These are adjectives, they do change with the noun they modify.

" ¿Dónde están los baños más cercanos? " (Where are the closest bathrooms? )


(Todo) derecho / recto

(straight)

"Siga todo recto." (Go straight.)


Al final, al fondo

(at the end)
The phrase " al fondo" has varied uses, which we practice in the audio lessons.

"Está al fondo del pasillo a la derecha." (It's down the hall to your right.)


Enfrente de, frente a

(in front of, across from)

"La sala de espera está enfrente de la recepción." (The waiting room is across from reception.)


Delante de

(in front of)
Used to refer to the order of things on the same side of the hallway or street.

" Ella está delante de mi." (She's in front of me.)


Próximo(a), Siguiente

(next)

Es la próxima puerta a la izquierda. (It's the next door on the left.)


Detrás de, Atrás de

(behind)

"Los ascensores están detrás de usted." (The elevators are behind you.)

Adelante

(ahead, forward)

"Verá las escaleras adelante." (You'll see the stairs ahead.)


A la vuelta

(around the corner)

"Está a la vuelta." (It's around the corner.)


Entre

(between)

"La salida está entre el ascensor y las escaleras." (The exit is between the elevator and the stairs.)


Al lado de, junto a

(next to)

OJO: These are prepositions, so they do NOT change with the associated noun.

" La oficina de seguridad está al lado de la oficina de estacionamientos." (The security office is next to the parking office.)


A (la) mitad de

(halfway, in the middle of)

" Lo verá a mitad del pasillo a la derecha." (You'll see it halfway down the hall on the right.)


En (el) medio de, en el centro de

(in the middle of)

"Las escaleras están en medio del vestíbulo." (The stairs are in the middle of the lobby.)


Sobre, encima de

(over, above)

"Verá un letrero que dice 'Sala de Maternidad' sobre dos puertas grande." (You will see a sign
saying " Maternity Ward" over two large doors.)


Places and Structures Within a Building

La recepción (reception)
El vestíbulo (lobby)
La sala (room, lounge, hospital ward)
La cafetería (cafeteria)
El pasillo, el corredor (hall, hallway)
El piso (floor)
El sótano (basement)
El ascensor (elevator)
Las escaleras (stairs)
La puerta (door)
La salida (exit)
La entrada (entrance)
Los letreros, rótulos (signs)
El puente (bridge)
La oficina (office)
El estacionamiento (parking lot)

Now it's your turn to practice this vocabulary and put it to use as you interpret asking for and giving directions in Spanish.

In the premium audio lessons, we cover:

  • Common Verbs
  • Common Prepositions of Location and Direction
  • Structures Within a Building
  • Department within the Hospital  

Listen to the free introductory lesson to this series.


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