(posted: 6/28/2010 6:42:22 AM)
There are four kinds of faucets that you're likely to find in an average kitchen: ball, disc, cartridge, and compression
for ball and disc type faucets, there is a lever that moves in two axes to control flow and temperature. The Y-Axis (or, up-and-down) controls flow, and in most circumstances, 'down' equals 'off'.
For cartridge and compression faucets, there are two 'knobs' on either side of the faucet that control the flow of water. One knob (typically the one on the left) controls hot water, and the other controls cold. To stem the flow of water, you would turn both of these knobs so that the flow of water is abated. But you might run into a problem. There is no standard direction that means 'on' or 'off', so it could be clockwise, counterclockwise, or one of each! You're going to have to use trial and error here. I'd start with one knob, turn it slowly one direction and note the flow of water. If it increases, turn the other direction, and if that's successful, repeat on the other knob.
And if all that fails? You always have the option of turning off the water service to your house, but that's certainly only to be used as a last resort, or if your sink has been destroyed by an explosion.