Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Directions and Instructions

Directions vs Instructions

Directions and instructions are exchanges often used by people in everyday situations. People communicate information in giving directions and instructions. Because of their almost identical meanings, people used them as a substitute for one another.

Both directions and instructions are used as plurals. They are delivered both in an oral or written manner. The differences between directions and instructions are dependent on the context or usage in a situation. Both directions and instruction act as guidelines and often appear as a series of steps or stages. This form implies that one step must be done before proceeding to another in order to do a task or to get a desired result.

Directions are often associated with places. People often ask for this type as a query when they are trying to go to a specific geographical location. Most directional cues are north, south, east, west, top, down, left, and right. Combinations of these mentioned cues are often used in the answers. This accomplishes the main goal of going to one specified area or location to another.

In a different context, directions can also be considered as orders. Basically, it gives guidance on what to do. In directions, the manner of delivery is less forceful compared to instructions. Directions act as general guidelines with an indication of authority. Also, directions do not provide the doer the context and sometimes the result of each step or action.

On the other hand, instructions are also commands or steps to make a particular event happen. Instructions are concentrated on how to do a particular task. They offer context as well as brief explanations of the steps and the succeeding results. These characteristics make instructions have some educational value while giving doers some understanding of the component’s importance which is the process itself to the effect of the instructions with all other implied knowledge. Instructions, unlike directions, are more detailed and hold a tone of authority in their delivery.

In terms of etymology, “directions” and “instructions” share Latin roots. “Directions,” as a word, comes from ”directio” while “instructions” comes from “instructio.” “Instruction” has a later etymology from late Middle English “instruccio.”


1.Both “directions” and “instructions” are a series of orders or steps to gain a result. In addition, both are words that imply knowledge. They are also nouns that are used as plurals, and their meanings are dependent on the context or the situation.
2.Directions are considered to be less forceful than instructions. There is also a general variety and lack of details like explanations and the effects of actions. On the other hand, these factors can be found in instructions. The latter, instructions, can be detailed and specific.
3.Instructions are guidelines on how to do something while directions are designed for what to do.
4.Directions, as a query, pertain to navigational cues to go from one specific place to another. Geographical markers like north, south, east, west and others are used in combinations to direct someone to a particular place.
5.Both “direction” and “instruction” have Latin roots. “Direction” comes from the Latin word “directio” while “instruction” takes its roots from “instructio.” “Instruction” has an earlier evolution beginning from 1375 or 1425. Meanwhile, “direction,” in its current meaning, began usage in 1400.
6.Both directions and instructions can be done in an oral or written presentation. In an oral presentation, directions or instructions can develop into a conversation or two-way communication. This happens because the recipient can ask for clarification to the given orders or an allowance for comments and feedback. This is in contrast when dealing with written directions or instructions as it happens as a one-way communication.

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