Go to the homepage of our German Course Chapter 5: Asking for directions University of Portsmouth
5.3 Where is the nearest...? Includes sound files!

Click here to listen to the conversation!On the previous two pages, we have practised how to get directions to specific places. The vocabulary and skills are slightly different when we have to find the nearest shop, station etc. In this conversation we find Herr McNaught asking a female passer-by (eine Passantin) where the nearest telephone box and the nearest chemist's are.

Listen to his conversation with the passer-by by clicking either here or on the sound icon at the top of the previous paragraph.

Ken McNaught Traffic lights Chemist's shop

Ken McNaught Entschuldigen Sie bitte.
Passantin Ja?
Ken McNaught Wo ist denn hier die nächste Telefonzelle?
Passantin Die nächste Telefonzelle ist gleich hier um die Ecke. In der Nähe vom Brandenburger Tor.
Ken McNaught Und wo gibt es hier eine Apotheke?
Passantin Eine Apotheke oder eine Drogerie?
Ken McNaught Eine Apotheke.
Passantin Sie gehen geradeaus und dann die vierte Straße links. An der Ampel rechts und dann stehen Sie direkt vor der Apotheke.
Ken McNaught Ist das weit?
Passantin Nein, nur fünf Minuten zu Fuß.

A German telephone box

die Passantin  passer-by (female)
Wo ist denn hier...?  "Wo ist...?" is the basic phrase used to translate "Where is...?". The additional words "denn hier" merely add a sense of conversational emphasis, and can be omitted.
die Telefonzelle  telephone box 
die nächste Telefonzelle  "The nearest telephone box." The endings of the adjective "nächst-" depend on the gender of the noun, and the case - i.e. whether it is in the nominative or the accusative case.
gleich hier  just here; right here
um die Ecke  around the corner
in der Nähe von "Near...". When the preposition "von" is followed by the definite article, this becomes "vom" for a masculine or neuter noun, and "von der" for a feminine noun.
das Brandenburger Tor  "The Brandenburg Gate" is probably Berlin's most famous landmark. We have included a picture of it in the top left-hand corner of each page in this chapter.
Wo gibt es hier...?  Another variant of "Where is...?" Note that in this construction, the thing which you are looking for is in the accusative case, whereas it is in the nominative case for the "Wo ist..." construction. This of course affects the endings on each noun.
die Apotheke  This is a "chemist's shop" which is staffed by qualified pharmacists who can prescribe medication for straightforward ailments without a doctor's prescription.
die Drogerie  We would also translate this as a "chemist's shop", but it is one that merely sells toothpaste, toilet articles and cough sweets. 
die Ampel  "Traffic lights". This is a singular noun in German.
an der Ampel rechts "Right at the traffic lights". The definite article "die" becomes "der" after the preposition "an" which takes the dative case.
dann stehen Sie...  "Then you stand...". The verb "stehen" is regular in the present tense.
direkt  directly
vor der Apotheke  "In front of the chemists shop". This is another preposition which takes the dative case.
Ist das weit?  Is it far? 
nur  only
fünf Minuten zu Fuß  five minutes by foot 

Weiter! Chapter 5.4: Studying the map

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