Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Shall I Take The First On The Right?

SCENARIO

Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend, a work colleague or even a total stranger. You are giving him/ her directions to go somewhere. At some point the other person interrupts you and says something like: "shall I take the first on the right?"

In Spanish, the other person could say:
Perdón, ¿tomo la primera a la derecha?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to clarify the directions you are giving. Typically, your answer will involve giving directions to the person you are talking to. When the directions are for the person you are talking to, you MUST make a choice between two levels of formality*.

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Sí, tomas la primera a la derecha (yes, you take the first on your right);
  • Sí, giras a la derecha (yes, you turn right);
  • Sí, tuerces a la derecha (yes, you turn right);
  • No, tomas la primera a la izquierda (no, you take the first on your left);
  • No, giras a la izquierda (no, you turn left);
  • No, tuerces a la izquierda (no, you turn left);
  • No, tomas la segunda a la izquierda (no, you take the second on your left);
  • No, tomas la segunda a la derecha (no, you take the second on your right);
  • No, sigues todo recto (no, you go straight on);
  • No, sigues hasta el final de la calle (no, you go on to the end of the street);


*Level of Formality
The wording of the answers in this post assumes that the person you are giving the directions to is someone with whom you have a very good rapport. That person could be a friend, a relative or a work colleague. In any case, when wording your answers in this less formal manner you are also signalling familiarity, affinity or closeness. There is a separate post dealing with wording your answers in a more formal manner.


Now you should practise answering the question:
Perdón, ¿tomo la primera a la derecha?

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