Difference between Directions and Instructions

Key difference: Both, directions and instruction act as guidelines. The main difference between the two is the fact that instructions are mainly associated with instruction or teaching. Hence, instructions are given to teach somebody something. Directions, on the other hand, are in the form of guidelines. They are mainly utilized while guiding somebody into a particular direction. Directions are mainly associated with driving directions, which aim to get somebody from point A to point B.

Directions and instructions are two terms that the often confused. A person may give someone the directions or instructions to do something. So what is the difference between the two and which should be used when?

Dictionary.com defines directions as:

  • The act or an instance of directing.
  • The line along which anything lies, faces, moves, etc., with reference to the point or region toward which it is directed: The storm moved in a northerly direction.
  • The point or region itself: The direction is north.
  • A position on a line extending from a specific point toward a point of the compass or toward the nadir or the zenith.
  • A line of thought or action or a tendency or inclination: the direction of contemporary thought.
  • Usually, directions. Instruction or guidance for making, using, etc.: directions for baking a cake.
  • Order; command.
  • Management; control; guidance; supervision: a company under good direction.
  • A directorate.
  • The name and address of the intended recipient as written on a letter, package, etc.
  • Decisions in a stage or film production as to stage business, speaking of lines, lighting, and general presentation.
  • The technique, act, or business of making such decisions, managing and training a cast of actors, etc.
  • The technique, act, or business of directing an orchestra, concert, or other musical presentation or group.
  • Music. A symbol or phrase that indicates in a score the proper tempo, style of performance, mood, etc.
  • A purpose or orientation toward a goal that serves to guide or motivate; focus: He doesn't seem to have any direction in life.

While, instructions are defined as:

  • The act or practice of instructing or teaching; education.
  • Knowledge or information imparted.
  • An item of such knowledge or information.
  • Usually, instructions. orders or directions: The instructions are on the back of the box.
  • The act of furnishing with authoritative directions.
  • Computers. A command given to a computer to carry out a particular operation.

Both, directions and instruction act as guidelines. They often appear as a series of steps or stages one must complete one after the other. However, they do differ in some manners. The main difference between the two is the fact that instructions are mainly associated with instruction or teaching. Hence, instructions are given to teach somebody something. For example: instructions for cooking, instructions for knitting a scarf, instructions for building a dollhouse, instructions for completing a project, instructions for writing a report, instruction manual for any and all electronic appliances, etc.

Directions, on the other hand, are in the form of guidelines. They are mainly utilized while guiding somebody into a particular direction. Directions are mainly associated with driving directions, which aim to get somebody from point A to point B. However, they can be associated with anything that may lead somebody somewhere, especially in a particular direction. For example: Directions for setting up a federal program at a state level, directions for a successful career, a director directs players on stage, the managing director directs the company onto a good position in the market, the company is headed in a good direction, a musician directs the orchestra, etc. 

Image Courtesy: twistynoodle.com, ngfl-cymru.org.uk

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Comments

This helped me a lot for my boardgame project in science.Thank you soooooooooo much!

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