ESL business: Giving Instructions in english

Do you know how to give instructions in English?

How to make a cup of tea?
How to search for a topic on yandex?
How to make a call on your mobile? Or listen to your music?

There are two parts to giving instructions the sequencers and the actions.

Asking for Instructions

  • How do you (do this)?
  • How do I . . . ?
  • What is the best way to . . . ?
  • How do I go about it?
  • What do you suggest?
  • How do you suggest I proceed?
  • What is the first step?

Giving Instructions

  • Sequencing
  • First, (you) . . .
  • Then, (you) . . .
  • Next, (you) . . .
  • Lastly, (you) . . .

Starting out

  • Before you begin, (you should . . .)
  • The first thing you do is . . . .
  • I would start by . . .
  • The best place to begin is . . .
  • To begin with,


  • After that,
  • The next step is to . . .
  • The next thing you do is . . .
  • Once you've done that, then . . .
  • When you finish that, then . . .


  • The last step is . . .
  • The last thing you do is . . .
  • In the end,
  • When you've finished,
  • When you've completed all the steps,

Example in english

How to Make a Cup of Coffee

First you need to buy some coffee and a coffee maker.
Then you have to put the water into the bottom of the coffee maker.
You needn't boil the water, cold water is fine.
Next you have to put the coffee in the coffee compartment and screw the top of coffee maker on.
After that you need to put the coffee pot onto the stove.
Then turn the stove on hight and wait. You don't have to move the coffee pot.
When the water boils and goes into the upper part of the pot you then have to remove the pot from the heat.
Finally you pour some coffee into a cup, add sugar and milk and enjoy

How to Use a Photocopier

First, you need to turn on the photocopier. Then you put the face of the paper that you want to copy, on the screen of the copier. Next, you need to select the paper size and how many number you want. After that, you push the start button and the copier starts working. Finally, you get the papers that you want.

Imperative form in  english

We use the imperative form to give orders, warnings and advice:

  • Be quiet!
  • Take care!
  • Listen to me carefully!

Because it can sound rude to give direct orders (especially if you are talking to an adult), we "soften" the imperative form with "let's" or "please":

  • Let's go now.
  • Please listen to what I'm saying.

Use a modal verb to turn the order into a request in english

We use modals to change the mood of a sentence. For example, "You should help her" is more polite than "Help her!"

Other modal verbs you can use to make requests are:

  • Could: Could you make me some tea?
  • Can: Can you come here please?
  • Will: Will you shut the door please?
  • Would: Would you wait here until the doctor is ready for you?

Use an introductory phrase to soften the order is english

Instead of using an imperative, you can use a phrase instead. Here are some common ways of phrasing an order, in order of the most indirect to the most direct:

  • Would you mind possibly… (+ ing) (Most indirect)
  • Would you mind possibly moving your car? It's parked right in front of mine.
  • I was hoping you could … (+ infinitive without to)
  • I was hoping you could spare me a few minutes this morning.
  • Do you think you could … (+ infinitive without to)
  • Do you think you could do this photocopying for me?
  • If you have a couple of minutes spare…
  • If you have a couple of minutes spare, the office needs tidying up.
  • I'd like you to…
  • I'd like you to file this correspondence for me.
  • I want you to…
  • I want you to finish this by tomorrow.

Use sequencing words in english

You can use sequencing words to make instructions clear.

  • Firstly, make sure the appliance is disconnected.
  • Secondly, open the back with a screwdriver.
  • Then, carefully pull out the two black cables….

Learn English: Giving instructions how to use computer

Duck and Cover was a social guidance film produced in 1951 by the United States federal government's Civil Defense branch shortly after the Soviet Union began nuclear testing. Written by Raymond J. Mauer and directed by Anthony Rizzo of Archer Productions and made with the help of schoolchildren from New York City and Astoria, New York, it was shown in schools as the cornerstone of the government's "duck and cover" public awareness campaign. The movie states that nuclear war could happen at any time without warning, and U.S. citizens should keep this constantly in mind and be ever ready.

Instruction how to use excel

How to Use Gmail : Keyboard Shortcuts in Gmail

There are many video instructions

BBC Instructions and advice
These programmes cover how to give and accept instructions, explanations and advice. So far, they include:

- asking for and giving directions
- showing understanding when you are listening to explanations
- making positive and negative comments
- making recommendations
- describing a process
- giving instructions

After you have listened, check out the language tables and quiz below to make sure you have understood.

BBC Giving clear instructions

ESLPodcast 76 - Asking for and Giving Instructions


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