I am supposed to go to Point A which is some two miles from a traffic signal, on the other side from where I am. I have to give instructions for this. Can I say the following?

Go across the signal and drive down the road for 2 miles, it will be on your right.

Is using across here right?

  • 1
    Signals are usually at intersections or T-sections (and one of the outlets may be a factory driveway or something other than a standard public highway). In American English, we might also say Go through the intersection, drive straight down that road for 2 miles, and it'll be on your right. – user21497 Jan 23 '13 at 13:12
  • I would rephrase that to: Point A is 2 miles past (or beyond) the traffic signal/intersection on the right hand side. – spiceyokooko Jan 23 '13 at 13:21
  • @BillFranke isn't "straight" implicit in the down the road? – noob Jan 23 '13 at 20:31
  • Yes, it probably is, but you're being logical rather than realistic about how people speak the language. Natural language is filled with redundancies. E.g., "Tell me the reason why" is typical idiomatic English. "Reason" = "why". The sentence should be "Tell me the reason" or "Tell me why", but people use both words. Not everyone, of course, & not all the time. Sometimes the redundancy adds emphasis, sometimes meaning, e.g., "no turns" in this case. I prefaced my suggestion with "we might also say". We might also say Point A is on your right 2 miles after the next traffic light. – user21497 Jan 23 '13 at 23:28

Is the signal a set of traffic lights? In that case I would suggest "go through the lights", which is how we would express it in Australia.

I would only use across if it was a physical barrier, e.g. "go across the road"; "go across the bridge". But I can't imagine across being used with a signal — you would be more likely to go around or past it if it was a sign, or through it if it was a beam (such as traffic lights).

  • Does "go around" here mean taking a U turn or something like that, going to left side from right side or the opposite around the sign or circle? – noob Feb 3 '13 at 11:53

Go past the signal might be clearer, but it does rather depend on what the route actually looks like.

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