Compass cardinal points in Spanish

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It’s time to get out the compass and give instructions to someone who asks us “Where is ….?”. In this article we are going to see how to say the cardinal points in Spanish so the next time you have to say north, south, east and west in Spanish you don’t have a block and start stuttering. Who hasn’t had that happen before?

The 4 cardinal points in Spanish

Just like in English the 4 cardinal points in Spanish are north, south, east and west. They are similar in spelling as in English.

  • Norte (North)
  • Sud (South)
  • Este (East)
  • Oeste (West)

Sometimes you might hear Oriente instead of Este (East) or Occidente instead of Oeste (West) but it is not very common.

Points between the 4 main cardinal points in Spanish

If you want to be more precise when saying the cardinal points in Spanish, below you will see the points between the 4 main cardinal points in Spanish.

  • Noreste (Northeast)
  • Sureste (Southeast)
  • Suroeste (Southwest)
  • Noroeste (Northwest)

In the following image you can see it in a more visual way. Sometimes with visual exercises it is easier to memorize the words.

Cardinal directions in spanish

Giving cardinal directions in Spanish

After seeing the cardinal directions in Spanish it is time to answer the question “Where is ….?”. Generally when we are asked the location of a place it is very likely that we don’t need to say the cardinal directions in Spanish. For example:

¿DÓNDE        ESTÁ        BARCELONA?

  WHERE        IS               BARCELONA?

BARCELONA     ESTÁ         EN          ESPAÑA

BARCELONA       IS               IN            SPAIN 

Let’s be a little more specific and see how to give cardinal directions in Spanish when we are asked about a specific place.

INGLÉSESPAÑOL
TO THE NORTH OFAL NORTE DE
TO THE SOUTH OFAL SUR DE
TO THE EAST OFAL ESTE DE
TO THE WEST OFAL OESTE DE
TO THE NORTH EAST OFAL NORESTE DE
TO THE NORTH WEST OFAL NOROESTE DE
TO THE SOUTH EAST OFAL SURESTE DE
TO THE SOUTH WEST OFAL SUROESTE DE
IN THE CENTER OFEN EL CENTRO DE

Then, once again:

¿DÓNDE        ESTÁ        BARCELONA?

  WHERE         IS              BARCELONA?

BARCELONA     ESTÁ         AL                     SUR           DE            FRANCIA

BARCELONA       IS              TO THE            SOUTH       OF             FRANCE

♣ Note:

  1. AL SUR: unlike English, in Spanish, we express direction when telling the cardinal points; that’s why, we do use the preposition A(To). AL ⇒ A ⊕ EL ⇒ TO THE.    
  2. DE: as we already know, we do use the preposition OF in most of our location expressions in order to tell a reference point of the noun that we are giving the location of.                                                  

¿DÓNDE        ESTÁ        BARCELONA?

  WHERE          IS              BARCELONA?

BARCELONA     ESTÁ         AL                     NORESTE           DE             ESPAÑA

BARCELONA       IS             TO THE            NORTH EAST       OF             SPAIN

In the following video you can listen to the pronunciation of the compass cardinal points in Spanish so that you have a reference and can practice them. If you need help with your Spanish remember we are online Spanish tutors and we can help you to improve your Spanish from very basic levels. ¡Un saludo!

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