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Directions and Locations in Chinese (Part Three) Posted by on Jul 17, 2017 in grammar, Vocabulary

We’ve already learned so much about directions and locations in Chinese through the first two posts. Go back and read them if you haven’t already, as you’ll need the language learned in those for this final post. Part One gave a list of places and common location words, and Part Two teaches how to ask for and understand directions. Let’s put it all together and look at a few sample conversations between people asking for and giving directions so we can see all of this at work.

Where is the subway station?

Beijing subway during rush hour. Can you spot the two 老外?

qǐng wèn dì tiě zhàn zài nǎ lǐ
Excuse me, where’s the subway station?

dì tiě zhàn jiù zài qián bian
The subway station is just ahead.

néng gào sù wǒ zěn me zǒu ma
Can you tell me how to get there?

wǎng qián zǒu yī bǎi mǐ zuǒ yòu, rán hòu yòu guǎi
Go straight for about 100 meters, then turn right.

yòu guǎi hái shì zuǒ guǎi
Turn right or turn left?

yòu guǎi
Turn right.

hǎo, rán hòu ne
Great, and then?

yòu guǎi yǐ hòu nǐ kě yǐ kàn dào dì tiě zhàn
After you turn right, you’ll be able to see the subway station.

hǎo xiè xiè
Great thanks.

bù yòng le
No worries.

Is there a bank near here?

Bank of Tianjin. Image by Jakob Montrasio from flickr.com.

duì bù qǐ, nǐ kě yǐ bāng wǒ ma
Excuse me, can you help me?

kě yǐ, yǒu shén me shì
Sure, what is it?

zhè lǐ de fù jìn yǒu yín háng ma
Is there a bank near here?

我想一想… 有的
wǒ xiǎng yī xiǎng… yǒu de
Let me think… there is.

zài nǎ lǐ

yín háng zài yī yuàn páng biān
The bank is next to the hospital.

hǎo, xiè xiè. zěn me zǒu yī yuàn
Great, thanks. How can I get to the hospital?

wǎng xī zǒu dà gài yī gōng lǐ, rán hòu zuǒ zhuǎn
Go west for about 1km, then turn left.

rán hòu yín háng zài yī yuàn duì miàn, duì ma
Then the bank is opposite the hospital, right?

bù duì, yín háng zài yī yuàn páng biān
No, the bank is next to the hospital.

hǎo wǒ zhī dào le, xiè xiè
OK I got it, thanks.

bù kè qì, màn zǒu
You’re welcome, take care.

Some Tips

As you can see from those two conversations, we used a lot of the words and phrases taught in the first two posts. When it comes to asking for and giving directions in Chinese, you’ve just got to keep practicing. Think about places in your neighborhood and how you would give directions to someone. Practice saying it and even writing them out in Chinese if you can. When you’re out there on the street, constantly ask people for directions, even if you know where you’re going! Play the lost tourist card and ask how to get to famous landmarks so you can see if you’re able to understand directions. You’ll be asking for and giving directions like a boss in no time.

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.

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