Updated: Jul 22, 2020
This is one of those Spanish lessons that gets less and less important as smartphones get cleverer at giving directions. But there may still come a time where you need to receive or give directions to another person (maybe their phone is out of battery?) so you need to know how to do it.
Asking where something is
We've already covered how to ask where something is using "¿Dónde está...?" for specific places, and "¿Dónde hay...?" for less specific places.
For instance if you were looking for the supermaket, you'd use está because you're looking for a specific place.
¿Dónde está el supermecado? Where is the supermarket?
But if you were looking for a drug store/pharmacy, you'd use hay, because you're not looking for a specific one. Just any old one will do.
¿Dónde hay una farmacia?
Where is a pharmacy / drug store?
¿Dónde hay una iglesia?
Where is a church?
(An easy way to remember it is that you use está with definite articles (i.e., "the") and hay with indefinite articles (i.e., "a", "an"). Check out this lesson on definite and indefinite articles if you need to brush up.)
Locations (and prepositions) you might hear
Once you've got your está and your hay situation sorted, here are some of the responses you might hear in Spanish. I've highlighted some important prepositions that you should definitely tuck into your vocabulary toolbox. These will come in handy!
You might also hear...
Verbs you might hear when asking directions
Other times people might need to give you more specific directions, so they'll tell you to "walk two blocks", "turn left", or "continue on for half a mile..."
So make sure you brush up on some of these verbs you might hear.
Remember that in Spanish we have formal and informal ways of using these verbs:
“tú” or “vos” (informal you forms)
Let’s look at the “tú”, which is the most likely form of the verb people will use when giving you directions on the street. You might hear people use verbs like this:
Dobla a la izquierda / Gira a la izquierda/ Turn left
Dobla a la derecha/ Gira a la derecha/ Turn right/
Sigue derecho / Sigue recto/ Go straight ahead
And then there's public transport
If you ask "¿Está lejos?" ("Is it far?") and the answer is "Sí", then you might need to take some public transport. Someone might say to you...
Toma.../ Take... ... el autobús/... the bus ... el metro/ ... the subway ... el tren/... the train ... un taxi/... a taxi
Listening Activity No. 1: "Dónde está el supermercado"
Now, let's see this lesson in context. In this video you will practice the vocabulary of the city. Take notes of the information you consider important and listen carefully to identify the phrases presented above plus a few new ones. Press PLAY when you are ready.
Quiz Activity No. 2: Match the words to the pictures:
sigues todo recto, gira a la derecha, gira a la izquierda, sigues hasta el cruce, sigues hasta el final, coges el autobús 68, coges la primera a la izquierda, coges la segunda a la derecha.
Listening Activity No. 3: "Giving an address in Spanish"
In this video by BCNSunlight you will learn how to give an address. And you will also learn some abbreviations related to an address. Take notes of the information you consider important and listen carefully to identify the phrases presented above plus a few new ones. Press PLAY when you are ready.
Audiovisual comprehension to practice oral and written expression. No. 4: "En mi barrio hay".
Download any time. Remember you can contact your tutor with any question have. Don’t you have a Spanish tutor yet? Please, leave a message if you want we prepare more activities about this topic. Thanks for helping us to improve.
¡Hasta la vista!,
The Español Latino Team.