Mary’s just landed in London and is heading off for the University of Studies – but there’s a problem – she’s already lost. Will the ‘helpful and friendly’ people of Britain help her to get where she wants to go?
Language focus – useful phrases
Learn phrases about asking for directions:
- Excuse me, could you tell me the way to…
- I wonder if you could help me please?
- Please could you give me directions to…
- I don’t suppose you could show me the way, could you?
Here are some other phrases you could use:
Do you know where I could find…
Excuse me, which way is it to…
Could you point me in the direction of… please.
Language Focus – vocabulary
Learn synonyms for ‘idiot’:
Hello and welcome to English at University – the series that teaches some English phrases to help you through your first year at university. Mary’s just landed in London and is heading off for the University of Studies – but there’s a problem – she’s already lost. Mary, what’s happened?
I think I got off at the wrong station and now I don’t know which way to go.
It’s time to ask for help. Don’t be scared. You’ll find Londoners helpful and friendly people. Just be polite and ask them the way and see what they say.
OK. Here goes. Err, help me will you. I don’t know where to go.
What? Sorry, I’m in a rush.
You need to be polite, smile and start with ‘excuse me’…
OK then. Excuse me… could you tell me the way to the University of Studies… please?
No. Never heard of it.
Oh dear. How am I going to find my way there? Oh, I’ll ask him… I wonder if you could help me… please?
Are you lost?!
Yes, I am. Please could you give me directions to the University of Studies?
Yeah. Of course. I’m going there myself. It’s my first day…
Me too! I don’t suppose you could show me the way, could you?
… I don’t know why I’m studying there though. I should have gone to Oxford or Cambridge… I did so well in my A levels… but I suppose I can share my ‘wisdom’ with the other undergraduates… anyway…
Ermm, there’s a sign…
…my name’s Daniel by the way. Are you just visiting?
No. I said I’m studying here too. My names Mary and look… there’s a sign for the university.
Nice to meet you Mabel. I think it’s a left turn here then straight on.
Oh dear Mary. Let’s hope he’s not doing the same course as you. He sounds like a complete loser – an idiot. Anyway, while Daniel’s showing her where to go, let’s look at the phrases she used to ask for directions…
Excuse me, could you tell me the way to…
I wonder if you could help me please?
Please could you give me directions to…
I don’t suppose you could show me the way, could you?
You can practise these phrases, pick up a few more plus learn some top tips for travelling in the UK on our website at BBC Learning English dot com. Now, back to Mary… I’ve got a feeling she’s has asked the wrong person for directions. This Daniel seems like a bit of a numpty – an idiot.
Strange… I thought it was down here. Maybe it was right at the junction?
Yep, he’s a muppet. A total idiot.
Oh dear. Maybe we should ask that policeman over there?
No, no, we’ll be fine. Err… taxi! Taxi!
Learn more about the language you can use when asking for and giving directions.
Listen to Alice and Neil discuss the psychological pressures of leaving home to start university life.
In the next epsiode, Mary finally gets to the University of Studies and gets a surprise when she finds her new room.