Using English for Instructions

How do you do it? 
How do you make it?
How do you get there?
I’ll tell you how to get there.
I’ll show you how to do it.
These are examples of using instructions language in English.

Very often you might want to ask somebody how to do something. (asking for instructions)
Or you may want to show somebody how to do something. (giving instructions)
Some time, an overseas visitor may ask you how to get to a place. (giving directions)
Please note, asking and giving directions are described separately, because they are so important.

Instructions may be very simple, for example, how to make coffee.
Sometimes instructions are more complicated,
for example, how to do a Google search.
Procedures, methods, guides and recipes are various words you may hear,
when instructions are discussed. For now, we’ll talk about simple instructions.

Part 1 Giving Instructions

Instructions are basically given in steps.
We can also use similar words such as – in order; in sequence

First you ……. (do something)
Then you ……. (do something else)
next you ……. (do another thing)
after that you ……. (do yet another thing)
finally you ……. (do the last thing)

When instructions are written down, often the steps have numbers, 1, 2, 3 ……
for example:
1. Prepare all the materials*
2. Find a good place to work.
3. Start making the item you want to make.

* or tools or utensils or equipment or ingredients

More language which you can use
before you start
make sure you have
the best place to begin is
when it’s finished (you can show it, or eat it, or wear it)

examples of situations when you may use instructions
knitting a scarfe
making okonomiyaki
making an origami crane
driving a car
playing the guitar

This website below has instructions for making simple miso soup –
Give me instructions for
a. Serving overhead in tennis
b. Making an item of food (e.g. scrambled eggs)
c. washing your dog.


Part 2. Asking for Instructions
How do you (do this)?
How do I . . . ?
What is the best way to . . . ?
How do you suggest I do it?
What is the first step?


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