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Go left, go right, go up – in German

Today, a German asked me for the way and of course I got stuck mid sentence.
I do know the names of the directions, but I didn’t know how to actually “tie” them into my sentence.

Well…  in German this is done with nach.

  • Ich gehe nach links.
  • I go (to the) left.

This system works with pretty much all the basic directions and also for east, west and so on:

  • nach links – to the left
  • nach rechts – to the right
  • nach oben – up
  • nach unten – down
  • nach Osten – to the east

And not just for verbs like gehen or fahren, but also for other verbs that can have a “direction”.

  • Ich gucke nach oben.
  • I’m looking up.
  • Ich werfe den Ball nach Osten.
  • I’m throwing the ball (to the) east.

It’s important to note that nach really indicates a direction, not a “fixed location”.
So it wouldn’t be the right choice in a sentence like this

  • To the east, there’s a fountain.

This sentence talks about WHERE the fountain is, not where the fountain is going, and so nach wouldn’t fit here.
I’ll have to look up again how to say these kinds of things.