Prepositions of Place & Giving Directions

Our Spotlight lesson this week, New Town, is all about maps, prepositions of place, and giving directions. In my experience, textbooks often present a map and expect students to generate directions without much guidance. My students would often make many little mistakes, such as forgetting the article “the” before the building names and forgetting secondary prepositions (such as “to the left of”). I found that reviewing prepositions of place first was helpful, followed by providing students with a lot of examples of directions. With the help of our talented designer Robyn, I created a worksheet of common prepositions and directions that your students can use for easy reference. After reviewing these lists, give our Spotlight lesson a try!

Prepositions of Place:

EXAMPLES:

Put students in pairs and have them read the examples out loud.

  • The bookstore is beside the coffee shop.
  • The movie theater is next to the library.
  • The bus stop is near the school.
  • The bakery is to the left of the supermarket.
  • The pharmacy is to the right of the laundromat.
  • The parking lot is behind the mall.
  • The newsstand is in front of the subway station.
  • The park is across from the school.
  • The coffee shop is kitty-corner to the bank.
  • The convenience store is around the corner from my house.
  • My office is on Main Street.
  • The doctor’s office is on the 8th floor.
  • I live at 415 Main Street.
  • The gas station is on the corner of Main and 41st.

Giving Directions:

EXAMPLES:

Put students in pairs and have them take turns asking a question and reading an example answer out loud. Continue until they’ve gone through all the answers—the goal is to get them familiar with the many different ways we can give directions in English, and increase their awareness of all the little details (articles, prepositions, etc.) used in each sentence.

Asking for directions:

  • Where is the bank?
  • Excuse me. Can you tell me where the bank is?
  • Hi. Do you know where the bank is?
  • Sorry to bother you, but I’m looking for the bank.
  • Where’s the closest bank?

Giving directions:

  • Walk two blocks. It’s at 405 41st Avenue.
  • Go one block down Main Street. It’s next to the Starbucks.
  • Walk down Main Street to the stoplights. It’s on your right.
  • Just go down Main Street. You can’t miss it!
  • Walk up 41st Avenue. It’s across from the movie theater.
  • Go up 41st Avenue for three blocks. It’s between the bakery and the laundromat.
  • Walk along Main Street. It’s only a few minutes from here.
  • Go along Main Street until you see the mall. It’s right next to the mall.
  • Walk straight down 41st Avenue. There’s a bus stop in front of the bank.
  • Go straight up Main Street until you get to the corner. It’s just across the street.
  • Walk two blocks. Turn left on Main Street. It’s right around the corner.
  • When you get to 41st Avenue, turn right and go one more block. You’ll see it.
  • Head down Main Street. You’ll see it on your left.
  • Head up 41st Avenue until you get to the park. It’s kitty-corner to the park.
  • Make a left on Main Street and go two blocks. It’s between the supermarket and the library.
  • Walk one block, then make a right on Main Street. It’s near the mall.
  • Head down 41st Avenue, then turn the corner and you’ll see it on your right.
  • Walk two blocks. Go around the corner. It’s the first building on the right.

Besides our New Town lesson, we’ve got plenty of other preposition resources for you! Try these fun activities by Tara Benwell: Where Is Sprout? Games for Practicing Prepositions of Place. Also, if you log in and type “prepositions” into the search bar, you’ll see 17 lessons and flashcard sets about prepositions of place and direction. Join Sprout English today!

     

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Are there any other prepositions or directions that you would add to the lists? Add them in the comments below!

Tanya Trusler

Tanya is a freelance editor and writer with an extensive background as an ESL teacher. She edits lesson plans, creates new materials, and writes weekly blog posts for ESL-Library and Sprout English. Her company is Editing to a T. Follow her on Twitter (@tanyatrusler) and Google Plus.

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