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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Giving Directions


Think of two places you know, like your house, and your school or work. Tell someone how to get fromone to the other.


[Lyle calls Susan on his mobile]
Lyle: Hey, Susan, how do I get to the Hilton Hotel?
Susan: Where are you now?
Lyle: I'm just around the corner from Mountain Park.
Susan: Are you on Sunrise Road?
Lyle: Yeah, south of the gas station. I can see a fountain kitty-corner from me.
Susan: OK, head up Sunrise and veer right at the Y intersection of Valley Road.
Lyle: How far to the Y?
Susan: It's one long block. There are a couple of T-intersections along the way, where little streets dead-end into Sunrise. Once you're on Valley, keep going. The hotel is straight ahead.


Many of us know the basic terms for giving directions: "Go straight," "turn right," etc. This conversation uses some more advanced words for telling people where to go. Here are some of the terms Lyle and Susan used:

a. around the corner from: We often hear "on the corner" or "at the corner." "Around the corner" is a little different. It means "on a street that crosses the one you're on." (See the "Locations" lesson for an illustration.)
b. kitty-corner: sometimes "cater-corner." If you are on the southwest corner, the northeast corner is "kitty-corner" from you.
c. head: We often use this instead of "go."
d. veer: The intersection at Sunrise and Valley isn't a 90-degree corner (a right angle). It's shaped like a "Y" (see next term). So when you get to it, you don't really turn, you sort of just adjust your course a little. A similar term is to "angle towards or away from" something. You can say that a bus was veering toward you or angling toward you, deviating from his path. Whichever you use, you'd better move!
e. Y-intersection: Where three streets meet, and none is at a right angle. Often, one is straight, or veers a little to the left or right; the other "branches off" from that.
f. long block: You may have learned about "blocks" in another directions lesson. When Susan says a "long block," she means "don't count the little streets."
g. T-intersection and dead-end: Where two streets meet in a T-shape, one of them "dead-ends" into the other; that is, it doesn't continue, it ends there. This is a verb usage. As a noun, however, "dead-end" usually indicates that the road ends with no alternatives. It simple stops, with nowhere to go but back the way you came; another word for this is "cul-de-sac." When I was a boy, we played ball in a dead-end near our house, because it had little traffic.


Look at the picture below. Match the illustrations to the descriptions above. One description will not be used.


1. Practice giving directions to a place you know, using the above terms as often as possible.
2. With a friend, give directions to a place you both know, but DON'T SAY THE PLACE. Your friend must guess what the place is.


1 e; 2 f; 3 a; 4 b; 5 g; 6 d

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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