ESL Giving Directions: Words, Phrases & Games

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Being able to ask for directions is a vital skill for many English as a Second Language learners. This lesson provides teachers with directional vocabulary words and activities about giving directions in English.

Giving Directions

ESL students often find themselves in new places. Because of this, it's important to know how to ask for and understand directions. The vocabulary and activities in the lesson can give your students the confidence they need to navigate around a building or city.


Let's look at some common vocabulary terms that ESL students will need to give directions:

  • Left
  • Right
  • Turn
  • North
  • South
  • East
  • West
  • Next to
  • Near
  • Beyond
  • Before
  • Over
  • Behind
  • Close to
  • Straight

Helpful Phrases

These common phrases will be helpful when asking for help finding a place:

  • I'm looking for…
  • Where is the…?
  • I can't find…
  • Do you know where…?
  • Can you help me find…?

It's considered to begin these requests with excuse/pardon me and to end with a thank you. Also, they shouldn't be worried about asking for clarification. Many ESL students are hesitant to ask a native English speaker to repeat themselves, so encourage your students to speak up when they don't understand something.

My House

In this activity, students draw a blueprint displaying the layout of their house or apartment.

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