Whether you love shopping, or just shop when you need to, you can practice your English at the same time!
Shopping is a great way to communicate with lots of different people, and it really helps to boost your confidence in speaking English!
You might hesitate or make mistakes to begin with, if you’re a bit nervous, but that’s completely normal. You may even find it hard to understand what the shop assistant is saying to you, if you don’t understand all the words!
If you familiarise yourself with the phrases and vocabulary in this blog, then you’ll know what you should expect to hear from the people you talk to on your shopping spree. It’ll make shopping a more enjoyable experience, and improve your English too!
The more you do it, the easier it will get, and the more natural it will feel!
CONVENIENCE STORE / GENERAL STORE / NEWSAGENTS / DEPARTMENT STORE / SHOP / STORE
TOY SHOP / TOY STORE
LADIES CLOTHING SHOP / BOUTIQUE
MEN’S CLOTHING SHOP / TAILOR
SHOE SHOP / COBBLER’S
JEWELLER’S / JEWELLERY STORE
IRONMONGER’S / IRONMONGERY
CHARITY SHOP / SECONDHAND SHOP
HABERDASHER’S / HABERDASHERY
SHOPPING MALL / MALL
FISHMONGER’S / SEAFOOD STORE
BAKER’S / BAKERY
DIY STORE / HOME SUPPLY STORE
GARDENING STORE / GARDENING CENTRE
USEFUL PHRASES THAT A CLERK OR CUSTOMER MIGHT USE
1. FINDING THE RIGHT STORE / SHOP
- Can you recommend a good toy shop/store?- Is there a chemist / pharmacy in this area?- Where can I get pet food from?- Where is the nearest shopping centre?- Could you direct me to the nearest post office please? - Do you know where the nearest hardware store is?
- There is a really good book shop just around the corner.- You can buy that here in the hotel.- The nearest one is a few mile away.- The best toy shop is in the shopping centre.- The post office isn’t open on Sundays.- The convenience store on the corner might sell that.
2. OPENING TIMES
- What time are you open until?- What time do you close today?- Are you open on the weekends?- Are you open all day?- What are your opening hours?- Are you open on Sundays?- Are you open every day during the week?- What time do you open tomorrow?
- Were open from 9am to 6pm.- We’re open on weekdays only (Monday to Friday).- We’re open from 10am to 8pm.- We’re open 7 days a week.- We’re open 24/7 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).- We’re closed at lunchtime, between 12pm and 2pm.- We’re closed on Bank Holidays (national holidays).
3. SELECTING GOODS
Clerk’s / Assistant’s Questions:
- Can / May I help you?- Can I help you find something?- What colour would you like?- What size would you like?- Is there anything else I can help you with?- Would you like to try it on?- Is that any good?- What can I do for you?- How does it fit?- How about this one?- Anything else?- Would you like anything else?
- Excuse me, do you work here?- Could you help me please?- I’m looking for a ….- I’m trying to find a ….- Could you tell me where the …. is, please?- How much is this?- How much are these?- How much does this cost?- How much is that …. in the window?- Where can I find the …. ?- Do you sell …. ?- Do you have any … ?- Would you have this in another colour?- Have you got anything cheaper?- Do you have something less pricey (expensive)?- Do you have this item in stock?- Do you have a smaller/bigger/larger size?- Do you know where else I could try?- Does it come with a guarantee/warranty?- Where is the changing/fitting room?- Is there somewhere I can try it/this/them on, please?- Where can I weigh my groceries?- Do/Can you deliver?- Do you have a refund policy?- Is this in the sale?
Clerk’s / Assistant’s Responses:
- I’m afraid that’s the only colour we have.- Sorry, we don’t have any more in stock.- Sorry, we don’t sell those / them here.- I’m afraid we don’t have any more left.- I have exactly what you’re looking for.- This one is on sale right now!- It comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.- It comes with a 1 year guarantee.- The changing / fitting rooms are that way.- The scales are by the counter over there. That’s where you can weigh your groceries.- That one is ….(price).- They’re ….(price) each.- You can get a refund if you keep the receipt safe, and bring it back within 2 weeks.
- I don’t need any help. I’m just browsing, thanks.- No, I’m just looking, thanks.- Wow, that’s cheap!- That’s good value.- Oh, that’s expensive.- That’s quite reasonable.- That’s a little over my budget.- That’s not exactly what I’m looking for.- I’ll take it.- I’ll take this, please.- It’s too long / too short.- It’s too tight / too loose.
4. MAKING PAYMENT
Cashier’s / Clerk’s Questions:
- Are you in the queue?- Are you being served?- Who’s next?- Next please!- How would you like to pay?- Will that be cash or credit?- Do you have a loyalty card?- Would you like a bag?- Can I help you with anything else?- Will that be all?- Would you like a gift receipt for that?- Would you like me to gift wrap it for you?- Would you like that gift wrapped?- Would you like any cashback?- Put your card into the machine please.- Enter your PIN please.- That comes to ….(price) please.- The total is ….(price).- That’s ….(price) please.
- Do you take credit cards?- Can I pay by cheque please?- Could I have a receipt please?- Could I have a gift receipt please?- Could you gift wrap that for me please?- Can I put one item back please? I’ve changed my mind about this one.- Could I leave my bags here, and pick them up later please?- Do you offer a cash discount?- Does it have a warranty / guarantee?
Cashier’s / Clerk’s Responses:
- We take / accept all major credit cards.- Sorry, we don’t accept cheques.- I’m afraid we take cash only.- We’re offering 6 months credit, with no deposit, if you’re interested.
- I’ll pay in cash- I’ll pay by card- Here’s ….(money), keep the change!- That’s it for today.- That’s all, thanks.- Thank you. Have a good day!
5. RETURNS AND COMPLAINTS
- Who can I speak to about making a complaint?- Could I have a refund please?- Can I speak to the manager please?- I’d like to return this please.- I’d like to make a complaint.- I’d like to change this for a different size please.- Do you have the original receipt?- Did you buy it from one of our other stores?- Can I ask why you’re returning it please?- Can I ask why you’ve changed your mind please?
- It doesn’t work.- It doesn’t fit.- It was a gift, but I don’t like it.- It was a gift, but the person I bought it for doesn’t like it.
THINGS WRITTEN ON SIGNS THAT YOU MIGHT SEE
OPEN 24HRS (HOURS) A DAY
CLOSING DOWN SALE
EVERYTHING MUST GO!
GREAT VALUE PRODUCTS
BUY 1 GET 1 FREE
BUY ONE GET ONE HALF PRICE
HALF PRICE SALE
70% OFF EVERYTHING
REDUCED TO CLEAR
OUT FOR LUNCH
BACK IN 15 MINUTES
BACK AT 2PM
SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE PROSECUTED
CCTV IN OPERATION
USING A CREDIT CARD
ENTER YOUR PIN
REMOVE YOUR CARD
PRICES AND NUMBERS
£5.99 = “Five pounds and ninety-nine pence” (long way)
£5.99 = “Five, ninety-nine” (short way)
$12.75 = “Twelve dollars and seventy-five cents” (long way)
$12.75 = “Twelve seventy-five” (short way)
€3.20 = “Three euros and twenty cents” (long way)
€3.20 = “Three twenty” (short way)
Example Conversation 1:
A: Which sofa should we buy? I can’t decide!
B: This one is larger, but it’s more expensive. I prefer the smaller one.
Example Conversation 2:
A: I need a new watch, but I don’t know which one to get. Can you give me any suggestions?
B: Rolex watches are better than Sekonda, but they’re not as affordable. Sekonda watches are better value for money.
Example Conversation 3:
A: I like the red sweater. What do you think?
B: I like the red one too, but I think the blue one is better, and the green one is best. The green colour really suits you.
Example Conversation 4:
A: What do you think of this dress? Does it suit me?
B: It suits you well, but the floral print one is my favourite, and it’s more suitable for this season.
Different ways of asking someone to SHOW you something:
- Can you show me the ….. please? (Informal)- Could you show me the ….. please? (Informal / Formal / More Polite)- Would you be so kind to show me the ….. please? (Formal)- I’d like to see the ….. please.- Could you direct me to the …. aisle please?
When you want to TRY something, you can say:
- Do you have any testers for these (lipstick) colours?- Can I try it / them on, please?- Could I try it / them on, please?- Is it okay if I try this / these on?- Where can I try it / them on?- Where are the changing rooms, please?
If you’d like the shop assistant to give you a DIFFERENT SIZE OR COLOUR, you could say:
- Do you have it / them in size ….. please?- Do you have this/these in a smaller / bigger / larger size please?- Can I try the larger / small one please?- Do you have it / them in a different colour please?- This is a little too tight / loose, do you have another one?
When you finally decide what you want to BUY, you can say:
- Wow, this one is great. I’ll take it!- This one is perfect, I’ll take it thanks.- I’ll have this one, please!- Can I buy the …. , please?- How much is it / are they?- I’d like to buy this one, please.- I’d like to buy it / them, please.
EXAMPLE CONVERSATION BETWEEN A SHOP ASSISTANT (A), CUSTOMER (B), AND CASHIER (C)
A: Hi there, can I help you with anything? B: Yes please, I’m looking for a T-shirt. A: What size are you? B: I’m a medium. A: What colour would you like? B: Maybe a blue or green one. A: Here you are. How about these? B: Thank you. Can I try them on anywhere? A: Certainly, the changing room is over there. B: Thank you. A: How do they fit? B: They’re both fantastic. I really like them. A: Yes, the blue looks nice on you, it really brings out your eye colour. B: Thank you. I’ll buy both of them! A: Great! Please go to the tills, and pay over there. B: Alright, thank you for your help. C: Who’s next please! B: Hi there, I’d like to buy these please. C: OK, how would you like to pay? B: Do you take credit cards? C: Yes, we do. B: Okay, here’s my credit card. C: Enter your pin number into the machine please. B: Okay, done. C: Thank you. Shall I put your receipt in the bag? B: Yes please. C: Here you go. Have a nice day! B: Thank you, goodbye!
EXAMPLE CONVERSATION BETWEEN A CASHIER (A), AND CUSTOMER (B)
A: Are you next in the queue sir? B: Yes, I’d like to buy this watch as a gift for my wife please. A: Okay, would you like me to gift wrap it for you? B: Yes please, that would be great! A: Are you sure this is the right size for your wife? B I’m not sure, it’s just a guess! A: I can print a gift receipt so she doesn’t see the price, but can bring it back to change the size if she needs to. Would you like me to do that? B: Yes please, that would be amazing! A: Okay, that’ll be sixty-five dollars and ninety-five cents for the watch please. B: Can I pay by cheque please? A: No, I’m afraid we don’t accept cheques. B: Okay no problem, I’ll pay by debit card then. A: Please insert your card into the machine, and then enter your PIN. B: Okay, done. A: Would you like me to put the gift receipt in the box with the watch? B: Yes please, that’ll be perfect. A: Here you go sir. Enjoy the rest of your day. B: Thank you very much!
USEFUL PHRASAL VERBS RELATED TO SHOPPING
PUT ON (to place something on a surface or person)
Put your items on the counter please.Why don’t you put on that new jacket you bought yesterday?
TRY ON (to test an item to see if it is suitable)
Can I try these dresses on somewhere please?
TRY OUT (to test something to see if you like it)
I’d like to try out this lipstick colour please, do you have a tester for it?
THROW ON (to wear something casually)
I’m looking for a simple, comfortable dress that I can just throw on.
DROP IN (to visit someone casually)
Drop in during your lunch break when you have more time, and I’ll help you find the right pair of shoes for you.
POUR IN (enter in high quantity)
The supermarket was so busy over the Christmas weekend. The customers startedpouring in, as soon as the doors opened!
POP IN (to visit someone, informal)
I’ll book you an appointment, and you can pop in for a consultation with one of our opticians.
BROUGHT IN (to make something new for the first time)
We have brought in a brand new summer collection now, so the old winter range is on sale.
CAVE IN (to surrender or give up to persuasion)
The shop assistant was so convincing that this dress was the best one for me, that I caved in and bought it, even though it was so expensive!
THROW IN/CHUCK IN (to include in addition to something – ‘chuck’ is more informal than throw)
If you buy this laptop, I’ll chuck in a free laptop case for you.
END UP (to finally make a decision abut something, after lengthy consideration)
I couldn’t decide which one to buy, so I ended up buying both of them
COME UP (when something is approaching/arriving)
I need to buy a gift for my friend, his birthday is coming up.
TAKE UP (to choose to start doing something new)
I’m thinking of taking up the violin, could you buy one for my next birthday please?
BRING DOWN (reduce the amount of something)
We have brought down the prices, because we’re having a huge sale before the winter!
TURN DOWN (to refuse or reject something)
He bought a really expensive watch for me, but I turned it down. I couldn’t accept it!
POP OUT (to leave to go somewhere for a short time)
I’m just going to pop out to the cash machine, could you save these items for me please?I’m just popping out to buy some bread and milk from the local store.
OPT OUT (to choose not to be a part of something)
They gave me the option of getting everything on credit, but I opted out because I prefer buying things upfront, than being in debt.
RULE OUT (to decide that something is not suitable / remove something from a list of options)
I’m not sure which laptop to buy. I think I’ll rule out this one, because it’s too expensive. Now I just have to decide between these two.
PHASE OUT (to gradually remove something from existence in one place)
Sorry, we don’t sell those anymore. We phased them out last year, because they weren’t very popular.
SELL OUT (to sell the whole supply of something)
I’m afraid all those watches have sold out now; they were very popular over Christmas!
HELP OUT (to assist someone)
Could you help me out please? I can’t do the zip up on this dress!
DO UP (to fasten something)
Could you do the zip up on this dress for me please?
STAND OUT (to be distinctive or more noticeable than others)
This sweater stands out from the rest. I love the vibrant colours!
WALK OUT ON (to abandon someone angrily)
I was so disappointed with their service, that I just walked out on them, and I didn’t pay!
PAY OFF (to pay back all you owe)
I have finally paid off all the money I owed on my credit card! It’s such a relief!
PULL OFF (to succeed in doing something difficult)
Wow, not many people can pull off that outfit, but you look stunning in it!
TOP OFF (to end or finish something in a special way)
I got an amazing deal on this computer, and to top it off, they gave me an extra three years free warranty!!
RIP OFF (to charge someone excessively)
They ripped you off! I bought that for half the price in a different store!
GIVE BACK (to return something)
I’ll have to give this ring back to Tom, because he broke off the engagement.
TAKE BACK (to decide on returning something in the near future)
I’m going to take this back to the store, and see if I can get a different colour.
PAY BACK (to pay what you owe)
If you get our loyalty card now, you won’t have to pay the whole amount today, instead you can pay us back in installments each month.
TALK OVER (to discuss something before making a decision)
I do love this sofa, but I’ll need to talk it over with my wife before committing to buying it.