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Giving directions in German Posted by on Jun 28, 2012 in Language

If you have read my two last post you know that how to ask for directions. Now it’s time to learn how to give directions or understand these instructions. Very useful words you need to know are the following:

 

geradeaus gehen – to keep straight on

geradeaus weitergehen – to go straight on

nach rechts abbiegen – to turn right

nach rechts gehen – to go right

nach links abbiegen – to turn left

nach links gehen – to go left

 

When you use these expressions in your instructions, you have to decide whether to use formal or informal speech. When you talk to a stranger it is always advisable to use formal speech. Then you say:

 

Gehen Sie geradeaus. – Go straight ahead.

Gehen Sie weiter geradeaus. – Go straight on.

Biegen Sie nach rechts ab. – Turn right.

Biegen Sie nach links ab. – Turn left.

 

When you use formal speech it does not matter if you are talking to only one person or more. The forms above are used for singular and plural.

 

When you talk to a friend or an acquaintance you can opt for informal speech:

 

Geh geradeaus. – Go straight ahead.

Geh weiter geradeaus. – Go staright ahead.

Biege nach rechts ab. – Turn right.

Biege nach links ab. – Turn left.

 

But you can use these forms only when you talk with a single person. When you give instructions to more than one person you have to use the plural forms:

 

Geht geradeaus.

Geht weiter geradeaus.

Biegt nach rechts ab.

Biegt nach links ab.

 

 

Here is what a dialog can be like:

 

A: Entschuldigung, wie komme ich zum Kino?
B: Gehen Sie diese Straße entlang, bis zur Kreuzung. Dann gehen Sie nach rechts und laufen immer weiter geradaus, bis sie zum Bahnhof kommen. Dort gehen Sie nach links und laufen diese Straße dort hinunter. Dann sehen Sie das Kino schon auf der rechten Seite.

 

A: Excuse me, how do I get to the cinema?
B: Walk along this street, until the crossroads. Then go right and go straight on until you get to the train station. There, you go left and walk down that street. Then you will see the cinema on your right.
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About the Author:Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


Comments:

  1. ahmed ali:

    wow this is very useful
    much like my eton phrasebooks on kindle. they have phrasebooks in 19 languages check out their website http://www.etonphrasebooks.com

  2. Kitty:

    Hi,
    thanx..this helps a lot!
    Vielen Dank!!:)

  3. a german student:

    How would you say ‘turn right on ____ street’?

    vielen Dank!

  4. Hristina:

    Danke, das war sehr hilfsreich!