Russian phrasebook
Phrases in Russian with audio and video

Asking for directions

It's very easy to get lost in a city we're not familiar with, even when we have a map. Here we're going to learn phrases to ask for directions and also how to give them. Knowing how to give directions will be especially useful to those working in tourist areas, so you can help Russian speaking tourists. You can start this section by watching the videos below. Afterwards, read and listen to the phrases we've prepared.

Part 1: Video

Summary of this topic with images and sound:

Watch the most important words and phrases of this topic below.

Asking for directions when you're lost:

Giving directions when someone is lost:

Part 2: Audio and explanations

Listen to the audio, read the explanations and get ready to learn real Russian.

I'm lost

I'm lost

We're in a place we don't know and we don't know the right direction to take: We're lost, so we go and ask for help. Or maybe the situation is different and it's someone asking us for help. In either case we need to know what to say in Russian:

Вы потеря́лись?
vy pa-tye-ryá-lis?
Are you lost?

Я потеря́лся (mas.) / Я потеря́лась (fem.).
ya pa-tye-ryál-sya / ya pa-tye-ryá-las
I got lost.

In Russian the past tense is different when it's said by a man or a woman. That's why when saying "I got lost" there are two possibilities: If you're a man, you should say "Я потерялся". If you're a woman, you'll say "Я потерялась".

Мы потеря́лись.
my pa-tye-ryá-lis
We got lost.

I need to go to...

I need to go to...

Clearly we're lost. Now we have to explain where we want to go to. It's important to know whether or not the place is far from here. If the person we talk to shows us the right direction on a map, that'd be even better:

Мне ну́жно в...
mnye núzh-na v…
I need to go to...

Вы зна́ете, как попа́сть в...?
vy zná-ye-tye, kak pa-pást v...?
Do you know how to get to...?

Э́то недалеко́? / Э́то далеко́?
é-ta nye-da-lye-kó? / é-ta da-lye-kó?
Is it near? / Is it far?

Ско́лько мину́т э́то займёт?
skól-ka mi-nút é-ta zaj-myót?
How many minutes will it take (to get there)?

Кака́я э́то у́лица?
ka-ká-ya é-ta ú-li-tsa?
What street is this?

Покажи́те на ка́рте, пожа́луйста.
pa-ka-zhý-tye na kár-tye, pa-zhá-lus-ta
Can you show it on the map, please?

Now we're going to see phrases to use when helping a person that is lost. We'll ask where they want to go to and we'll let them know if the place is far. Also, we'll show them the place on a map:

Куда́ вам ну́жно?
ku-dá vam núzh-na?
Where do you need to go to?

Э́то недалеко́ / Э́то далеко́.
e-ta nye-da-lye-kó / e-ta da-lye-kó
It's near here / It's far from here.

Я покажу́ вам на ка́рте.
ya pa-ka-zhú vam na kár-tye
I'll show you on the map.

Means of transport

Means of transport

How can we get there? On foot, by taxi, by metro,...? It's not enough to know, for example, that the museum is five minutes away from here. Naturally, 5 minutes on foot isn't the same as 5 minutes driving:

Мо́жно дойти́ пешко́м?
mózh-na daj-tí pyesh-kóm?
Can I go on foot?

Мо́жно пешко́м / Пешко́м сли́шком далеко́.
mózh-na pyesh-kóm / pyesh-kóm slísh-kam da-lye-kó
You can go on foot / It's too far to go on foot.

На́до е́хать на... авто́бусе / такси́ / метро́?
ná-da yé-hat na... af-tó-bu-sye / ta-ksí / mye-tró?
Do I need to go by... bus / taxi / metro?

Вам на́до е́хать на... авто́бусе / такси́ / метро́.
vam ná-da yé-hat na... af-tó-bu-sye / ta-ksí / mye-tró
You need to go by... bus / taxi / metro.

Вам ну́жен авто́бус но́мер...
vam nú-zhen af-tó-bus nó-myer...
You need the bus number...

Како́й авто́бус мне ну́жен?
ka-kój af-tó-bus mnye nú-zhen?
Which bus do I need?

To the right or to the left?

To the right or to the left?

We're going to explain in a few phrases the difficult process of giving and asking for directions. Even using our own native language we all find it hard sometimes to explain how to get somewhere. Doing it in Russian is only a bit more difficult:

На́до идти́ туда́? Ско́лько кварта́лов?
ná-da it-tí tu-dá? Skól-ka kvar-tá-laf?
Do I need to walk in this direction? How many blocks?

We know that we have to go straight on. In the following three phrases we will see how to build sentences like "Walk straight on for ten minutes" or "Walk straight on three blocks":

Иди́те пря́мо...
i-dí-tye pryá-ma...
Walk straight on...

...оди́н кварта́л / два, три, четы́ре... кварта́ла.
...a-dín kvar-tál / dva, tri, chye-tý-rye... kvar-tá-la block / two, three, four... blocks.

...пять / де́сять / пятна́дцать... мину́т.
...pyat / dyé-syet / pyet-ná-tset... mi-nút
...for five / ten / fifteen... minutes.

After walking straight on it's time to turn. Let's see how to build sentences such as "Afterwards go to the left for five minutes" or "Afterwards go to the right one block":

Пото́м напра́во и́ли нале́во?
pa-tóm na-prá-va í-li na-lyé-va?
Afterwards, to the right or to the left?

Пото́м напра́во / Пото́м нале́во...
pa-tóm na-prá-va / pa-tóm na-lyé-va
Afterwards go to the right / go to the left...

...оди́н кварта́л / два, три, четы́ре... кварта́ла.
...a-dín kvar-tál / dva, tri, chye-tý-rye... kvar-tá-la block / two, three, four... blocks.

...пять / де́сять / пятна́дцать... мину́т.
...pyat / dyé-syet / pyet-ná-tset... mi-nút
...for five / ten / fifteen... minutes.

Now we only have to add "afterwards" to our description of the route until we reach our destination. With a little bit of luck no one gets lost and we all arrive safe, sound and on time:


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