Asking for directions in English
A very common problem people have when asking for directions in English is sounding rude. In my hometown in Brazil, for example, it is often annoying - but equally acceptable - to touch a complete stranger on their shoulder and say:
"Where is ... street?"
"How can I get to...?"
Well, in English speaking countries, it is not. We need to remember about two crucial things:
1) Remember you are the one interrupting the person to do you a favor. Therefore, you need to say excuse me and please, as well as smile (yes, smile! And you don't need to mean it..). Say:
"EXCUSE ME, where is ... street PLEASE?"
"EXCUSE ME, How can I get to ... PLEASE?"
2) If you want to be extra polite, you may as well say:
"Can you tell me... please?" if you think the person knows the answer
"Do you know... please?" if you think they might not.
TIP: When you start a request like that, remember to change the position of verbs and remove auxiliaries:
"Excuse me, can you tell me where ...street IS please?" or "Excuse me, do you know where ... street IS, please?"
"Excuse me, can you tell me how I CAN get to... please?" or "Excuse me, do you know how I CAN get to..., please?"
Good luck with your travels!