Giving directions (advanced)

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HaraKiriBlade

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I wrote a whole whack of text just minutes ago and it's all gone because I got timed out and when I clicked on 'submit new thread', I was prompted to agree to the forum rules... I used 'back' buttoen but I couldn't retrieve what I wrote. Anyways... lesson learned: copy your post before you proceed so that you can paste it back in case it mysteriously disappears.

I realize I have limited vocabulary when it comes to giving directions. I could give simple directions like "make a left on XYZ street, hang a right at the second light you come across, drive along the river and go up the hill until you see the big LCD screen on your right hand side and turn left" and etc. However, I struggle a great deal when trying to give complex directions involving highway (getting on / off the highway, ramp, overpass, etc) and other peculiar road features and geography.

Could you give me a list of words / phrases / sentence forms I can use to give directions and describe features of roads and nearby geography, as well as for other things I haven't thought of that are involved in giving directions in general?

I would appreciate suggestions from many different people, as it's quite likely that I already know many of what will have been suggested. (hopefully I don't sound arrogant and I don't mean to be, I just want as many inputs as possible)

- HKB
 

blouen

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I think this thread will really be helpful. Not a few non-native speakers find it difficult giving exact directions.

Would you like to list some of the words/expressions that you already know? Well, so that other members could also benefit from it... And so we would know what we could still add(if we know any) to your long list.
 

HaraKiriBlade

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Good point. I should first list what I know so that others know what to add.

Ones I could come up with off-hand are...

Hang / make a left or right on blah street (where blah street is the street you're turning into)
Turn left / right at the third light
Go straight until... you see the Holiday Inn on your right
Go up / down the hill
Drive along the river / railway
...where the road forks / splits / divides.
Junction (although I don't see how it's different from intersections, does anyone know?)
Delta (someone used this word to describe a junction where three roads meet, but I'm not sure what it really means)
Take the ramp onto blah highway (I'm sure there are many other ways of saying this)
Take the blah exit to get off the highway (again, many variations and I don't know that many)
Go up to the overpass
Offroad

Drive into the sidewalk and run over people (just kidding!)


This is what I can think of right now. I remember there is a specific name for roads going spiral around a hill... a customer at my parents' variety store used to give me directions to places and I would be amazed at the kinds of vocabulary he used. I don't work there anymore so I don't see him, but I wish I had stopped him and asked about the words / expressions he used, instead of nodding mindlessly.

- HKB
 

Tdol

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A junction is a broad term for any meeting of roads.

Do they say 'chuck a right/left' in Canada or is it BrE?

PS Check the 'Remember Me' box when you log in (it should be checked by default) and you won't timeout.
 

blouen

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* Take the first/second road on the left/right
* (just) around the corner
* Go straight on (until you come to ...).

How about these three.
 

Anglika

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You could go on indefinitely!

Delta = geographically a point at which several rivers come together (for instance, the Nile Delta), so by extension a point at which several roads meet.
 

susiedqq

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Are you ble or do you want to get into directions that include

"travel north for one mile, turn sound . . . "

Anyway, there's always MapQuest in the States :lol:
 

Ouisch

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Good point. I should first list what I know so that others know what to add.

Ones I could come up with off-hand are...

Hang / make a left or right on blah street (where blah street is the street you're turning into)
Hang a left or make a left are both common usage in AmE; they both mean simply to turn left.

Turn left / right at the third light
This indicates that the person should turn at the third traffic light they approach. Sometimes this type of statement is further clarified (if one or more of the lights isn't a traditional red/yellow/green traffic signal), such as "turn left at the blinking red" or "make a right at the blinking yellow."
Go straight until... you see the Holiday Inn on your right
Go up / down the hill
These are all common usage.

...where the road forks / splits / divides.
Usually in AmE we'd say "...there will be a fork in the road. Veer to your right (or left)." or "you'll come up to a fork in the road, make sure you veer right."
Junction (although I don't see how it's different from intersections, does anyone know?)
In AmE, a "junction" is an intersection where a numbered state or interstate highway or expressway meets a regular road (or a place where two or more interstate highways meet). For example, the place where Main Street and Elm Street cross is an intersection; if you're driving on Main Street and you come to an intersection where you can turn onto Interstate 75 (which is an expressway), that's a junction.

Take the ramp onto blah highway (I'm sure there are many other ways of saying this)
Take the blah exit to get off the highway (again, many variations and I don't know that many)
When giving directions that include getting on or off of a freeway or expressway, it's always best to include the direction that the traveler needs to head; that is, "turn left at the corner and you'll see the on ramp for I-75 north." or "make sure you catch I-75 south."

Some people give exit directions using the exit number (most exits on US freeways are assigned a number), which is very helpful and leaves less room for error. Me, I rarely notice the exit numbers so I can't tell someone to "take I-94 west and get off at exit 22;" I have to use the street name of the exit, such as "take I-94 west and get off at the Michigan Avenue exit."
 
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