Giving and Confirming Directions

4.1 Giving and Confirming Directions

This lesson is set in the RoC. You’ll learn to understand questions and answers used in giving or confirming step by step directions to or from places.

Clara Matthews, an American student in Taipei, is out for a walk and has just met Guo Sho Fang, a friend of hers. Listen as Ms. Guo starts a conversation.

Nǐ dào náli qù?你到哪里去 Where are you going?
Wǒ dào kāfēitīng qù我到咖啡厅取 I’m going to a coffeehouse.

Here’s the word for to go when a specific destination is used.

to go (when a destination is specified)

Here’s the word for a coffeehouse.

kāfēitīng咖啡厅 coffeehouse

When a destination isn’t given, the English verb to go may also be translated by the verb zǒu, literally to leave.

In the sentence, wǒ dào kāfēitīng qù I’m going to a coffee house, the destination is specified by a prepositional verb construction using the verb dào. As a full verb, dào means to arrive.

As a prepositional verb, it corresponds to the English preposition to.

Listen again and review.

Clara Matthews knows which coffee house she wants to go to but doesn’t remember how to get there. Listen as the conversation continues.

Nǐ zhīdao bu zhidao Huáměi Kāfēitīng?你知道不知道华美咖啡厅 Do you know of the Huamei coffeehouse?
Bù zhīdào.不知道 No, I don’t.

Here’s the English word for to know.

zhīdao知道 to know of

In the affirmative, this verb ends in a neutral tone, while in the negative, it ends in a falling tone.

The coffee house that she is looking for is the Huamei Coffeehouse.

Huáměi kāfēitīng华美咖啡厅 Huamei coffeehouse

The word huá is one of the abbreviations for China. And the syllable měi is of course short for měiguo America.

Listen again and review.

Now Ms. Guo and Ms. Matthews go into a shop to ask the clerk if he knows of the Huamei Coffeehouse. When he says he does, the conversation continues like this.

Dào nàli qù, zěnme zǒu?到那里去,怎么走 How do I get there?

In this instance, here is the word used for to go.

zǒu to walk/to go

You had the word zǒu earlier with the meaning to leave. The sentence might be translated as To get there, how do I go?. The verb to go, focuses on where you end up.

The verb zǒu, which is translated to go focuses on the route you used to get there.

Listen again and review.

Listen as the clerk answers.

Cóng zhèli wàng zuǒ zǒu从震了往左走 From here you go to the left.

Here’s the word for from.

cóng from

Here’s the word used for to in this instance.

wàng to/in the direction of

And here’s the word for left.

zuǒ left

Unlike the other prepositional verbs you’ve had, the word cóng has no full verb equivalent.

Listen again and review.

Now listen as the clerk continues.

Dàole lùkǒu, zài wàng yòu zǒu.到了路口,再往右走 When you have reached the inter- section, then you go to the right.

Here the word for an intersection.

lùkǒu路口 intersection

And here’s the word for right.

yòu right

Here’s the word used to mean then in this instance.

zài then

The adverb zài is used for the English word then in commands and suggestions. It usually indicates the second step in a suggested sequence of actions as in First you go to the left and then, when you’ve reached the intersection, go right.

The marker le in the clause, dàole lùkǒu, is a marker of ‘completed action’. The action of arriving is described as completed as of the time you go to the right.

Listen again and review.

Dàole lùkǒu, zài wàng yòu zǒu, jiù dào le.到了路口,再往右走,就到了 When you have reached the inter- section, then you go to the right, and then you’re there.

Here is the word for then.

jiù then

The adverb jiù is used for the English word then in statements. It precedes the last of a list of events that follow each other immediately in time.

In this sentence, we have translated the phrase jiù dào le rather loosely as and then you’re there. Although an exact translation would be and then you will have arrived..

The completed action marker le, like the English word will have, indicates that the action of arriving is completed with respect to some future point in time.

Listen again and review.

Now let’s go back and listen as Ms. Guo checks to make sure she remembers the directions to the coffeehouse.

Wǒ xiān wàng zuǒ zǒu , duì bu dui?我先往左走,对不对 First I go to the left, I11 that correct?
Duì le.对了 That’s correct.

Here is the word used for first in the dialog. Note, that it only means first in the sense of first done this, then … not as in first, second, third.

xiān first

Here is the word for correct.

duì right/correct

Here’s how you would say that’s correct.

duì le.对了 that’s correct

The addition of the phrase duì bu dui to the end of a statement turns it into a confirmation question. This kind of question is used when you expect your listener to agree with what you say but you’re checking with him to make sure he does.

Listen again and review.

The conversation continues.

Ránhòu ne?然后呢 And after that?
Hǎo, dàole lùkǒu, wàng yòu zǒu, zit好,到了路口,往右走 After that, when you have reached the intersection, then you go to the right.
Hǎo, wǒ zhīdao le. Xièxie.好,我知道了。谢谢 Good, I’ve got it now. Thank you.

Here’s the word for after that.

ránhòu然后 after that/afterwards

In this conversation, the sentence wǒ zhīdao le, means I know how to go now.

Listen again and review.

Now let’s change the situation. Clara Matthews has just walked up to an intersection with her Chinese tutor Mr. Yang and is checking which way to go.

Qīngwèn, cóng zhèli dào yínháng qù, wàng yòu zǒu, duì bu dui?请问,从这里到银行去,往右走,对不对 May I ask , to get trom here to the bank you go to the right. Is that correct?
Bú shi, cóng zhèli yìzhí zǒu.不是,从这里一直走 No, trom here you go straight.
yìzhí一直 straight

Notice that the question was answered with the phrase bú shi even though it was asked with the word duì. The expression bú duì is as rude in Chinese as saying you’re wrong would be in English.

Listen again and review.

Pronunciation Practice