Introduction:

In this second of two exercises on buying clothes, you'll learn and remember more commonly used English vocabulary that you can use when shopping for clothes. In this part, you'll learn vocabulary and phrases that you can use when speaking to a shop/sales assistant and what they will say to you. In addition, you'll learn what you can say if you don't like something or don't want to buy a piece of clothing.

If you haven't done the first part of this exercise yet, I recommend you do this first part of the exercise before doing this second part of the exercise.

To learn the English vocabulary used for the different parts on a piece of clothing, do the exercise on 'English vocabulary for describing clothes'.


Exercise: Talking to a shop assistant

Read the following conversation between a customer (Louise) and a shop/sales assistant in a clothes shop in London. Louise is interested in buying a jersey.

From the context, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Louise:'Excuse me, do you have this in green?'

Shop Assistant:'I'm not sure if we do, let me just check. The manager will know if we do.'

3 minutes later

Shop Assistant:'I'm afraid we don't. We sold out of this jersey in green yesterday. It's very popular, a lot of people are buying it. We only have this jersey now in blue and grey. Would you like to see them?'

Louise:'No thanks, I'm looking for a jersey in green.'

Shop Assistant:'But we do have some similar jerseys in green on this rack. Look, these two are very similar and green. Would you like to try them on?'

Louise:'Ok. Is there a mirror?'

Shop Assistant:'Yes, over there.'

3 minutes later

Shop Assistant:'So, how did they fit?'

Louise:'Well, the first is a little too big. Too large for me. Also, the sleeves are too long and are covering my hands. I like the second jersey, it fits me well. Is the jersey 100% cotton?'

Shop Assistant:'It will say on the label, inside the jersey. No it isn't. It's 50% Cotton and 50% wool.'

Louise:'Does it say on the label if the jersey is machine wash, so you I can wash it in a washing machine?'

Shop Assistant:'The label says that it can't be cleaned in a washing machine or with water. The jersey is dry clean only. So it has to be cleaned in a specialist shop and not in a washing machine.'

Louise:'Oh, it's expensive to dry clean clothes.'

Shop Assistant:'I can find you a green jersey that doesn't need to be dry cleaned.'

Louise:'No, it's fine thanks. I prefer the style of the jersey that you don't have in green.'

Shop Assistant:'Well, we'll have some more in of the green jersey that you like next week. If you want, I can reserve you one? So, you know that you'll have one when they arrive.'

Louise:'No, it's fine thanks. I'm only in London this week. Thanks anyway.'

Shop Assistant:'You are welcome.'


What next

Well done for reading the text and learning the meaning of each of the words/phrase in bold. If you don't want to forgot what they mean and want to be able to say them correctly, I'd like you to do one more thing which won't take you long.

Answer the questions in the below quiz with the shopping for clothes vocabulary you've just learnt. Doing this will make sure that you both remember what they mean and that you'll use them in the future.



Quiz:

Below is a definition/description of each of the words in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one word/phrase once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

1. When clothes can be cleaned using soap and water in a machine, they are
         

Machine wash:
(adjective) 'machine wash' means that a piece/item of clothing can be cleaned in a washing machine, e.g. 'are these jeans machine wash?' 'yes'. It is normally used with the verb 'to be', e.g. 'this jersey is machine wash'. It is one of a number of different ways to clean clothes. Clothes can also be 'hand wash' (which means that they should only be cleaned using soap and water by hand) and 'dry clean' (which means that they should only be cleaned using chemicals in a specialist shop called a dry cleaner's). A piece/ item of clothing will tell you the method/way it has to be cleaned on the label, which is on the inside of the piece/ item of clothing. In Spanish: "lavar a máquina".

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Machine wash:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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2. When a shop has no more of a product left because they have all been bought, the product is
         

Sold out:
(phrasal verb) The infinitive is 'to sell out'. This means that a shop has sold all of a product that they had, e.g. 'I'm afraid that we are sold out of the new iPads'. 'sell out' is normally used in the passive ('to be sold out'), e.g. 'the iPad is sold out'. It is an intransitive phrasal verb (it is not directly followed by an object), e.g. 'we have sold out'. In Spanish: "agotarse".

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Sold out:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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3. A polite phrase that means a piece/item of clothing is 'too large', is
         

A little too big:
(phrase) This commonly used phrase means that a piece of clothing is too big for a person and it doesn't fit them. This phrase is used as an adjective and always follows the verb 'to be', e.g. 'the shirt is a little too big'. A different way to say exactly the same as 'it's a little too big', is 'it's not small enough'. By using 'a little', it makes the phrase sound politer than if you just said 'it is too big' (which is direct). 'a little' is normally added to adjectives when you are complaining or saying that something isn't perfect/suitable for you, e.g. 'do you like the watch?' 'yes, but it's a little expensive'. You can replace 'big' in this phrase with 'small', 'loose','tight' etc..., e.g. 'the shoes are a little too tight'. In Spanish: "me queda un poco grande".

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A little too big:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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4. A phrase that is used by a shop assistant to tell a customer when a product will be available again in the shop to buy, is
         

We'll have some more in:
(phrase) This commonly used phrase is used in shops/stores to tell a customer the day/date when a product that they have sold out of (have all been bought) will be re-available for them to buy there. When a shop assistant uses this phrase, it is always followed by the day or date, e.g. 'we'll have some more in next week'. When a customer wants to know when the product will be re-available to buy in a shop, they can use 'when will you have some more in?'. In Spanish: "tendremos más".

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We'll have some more in:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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5. A phrase a shop assistant says to a customer when they need to speak to somebody else to answer the customer's question, is
         

Let me just check:
(phrase) This phrase is used by a shop/sales assistant when a customer asks them about something they don't know or are unsure about. It basically means 'I need to speak to somebody who does' or 'I need to find out'. It is very commonly used in shops, airports, restaurants etc... when a customer asks if they have a certain product or information about something. This phrase normally follows 'I don't know', e.g. 'when will the new iPad be on sale?' 'I don't know, let me just check'. It is also common to hear, 'let me just find out', which has the same meaning. In Spanish: "lo tengo que consultar".

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Let me just check:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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6. A phrase that is used to 'thank' somebody if they haven't been able to help you with something, is
         

Thanks anyway:
(phrase) This is a polite phrase that is used as a response (like 'thank you') when somebody hasn't been able to answer a question you asked or has told you that they don't have a product or something that you want to buy or use. For example, 'do you have the new iPad?' 'I'm afraid we don't, sorry' 'no problem, thanks anyway'. This phrase often follows 'no problem' (see the above example), but it isn't necessary. In Spanish: "gracias de todos modos/formas".

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Thanks anyway:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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7. An object you look into when you want to see what you look like, is a
         

Mirror:
(noun) A 'mirror' shows the reflection of a person and is used when somebody wants to see how they look (e.g. when putting on makeup, shaving the face, trying on clothes etc...). All clothes shops/stores have mirrors in them and to ask a shop assistant where it is, you simply say 'excuse me, is there a mirror I can look in?'. In Spanish: "espejo".

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Mirror:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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8. The place on the inside of a piece/item of clothing that gives information about what materials it is made of and how to clean it, is called a
         

Label:
(noun) A 'label' has two different meanings. In this context, a 'label' is a piece of material which is located on the inside part of a piece/item of clothing (so nobody can see it when you're wearing it). It gives information about the piece/item of clothing. It normally includes information about how to wash/clean it, what materials it is made of (e.g. cotton, wool etc...) and what size it is (e.g. large, 42 etc...). A 'label' also has a different meaning with clothes. It can mean the 'make' or 'brand' of the piece/item of clothing (e.g. Nike, Levi's etc...). For example, 'what label are the jeans?' 'they are levi's' The only way to know which of the two meanings is being used is through the context. In Spanish: "etiqueta".

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Label:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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9. The place where clothes are normally placed/hung in a clothes shop, is called a
         

Rack:
(noun) A 'rack' in this context is a metal bar which is used to hang or hold clothes in a clothes shop/store. The clothes are hung below the 'rack'. The clothes are connected to the 'rack' using a 'coat hanger' which has a metal or plastic hook that connects it to the 'rack'. The word 'rack' is often used by shop assistants when they are telling a customer where a certain size or particular label/make of clothes is in the clothes shop/store, e.g. 'on this rack are jeans of size 32 and on the next rack is size 34'. In Spanish: "perchero".

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Rack:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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10. A phrase that you say when a piece/item of clothing isn't right for you and is the opposite of 'too short', is
         

Too long:
(adjective) This adjective is used for trousers, shirts, jackets etc... and means that their length is longer than you want or need, e.g. 'the jeans are too long. the ends of the jeans touch the floor when I'm wearing them'. 'too' is used with adjectives to mean that something is excessive or not good enough. When 'too' is used in front of an adjective, it has a negative meaning and is used when you are criticising or complaining about somebody or something. For example, 'Peter is too intelligent' means that Peter in your opinion is intelligent in a bad/negative way. To make 'too' sound politer, you add 'a little' in front of it, e.g. 'Peter is a little too intelligent'. In Spanish: "demasiado largo".

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Too long:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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11. A question which is used to ask a shop assistant if they have a piece of clothing in a specific colour, is
         

Do you have this in green:
(phrase) This phrase is used to ask a shop assistant if they have a piece/item of clothing in a different colour. This phrase can also be used to ask a shop assistant if they have it in a different size (e.g. 'do you have this in medium?') or with or without particular things (e.g. 'do you have this with buttons/a hood/a zip etc...?'). By using 'this' in the phrase, you have to be holding the item of clothing or thing that you are asking about in your hand(s) or be touching it. In Spanish: "tienes esto en verde".

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Do you have this in green:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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12. A polite way to tell a shop assistant that you don't need any help from them, is
         

No, it's fine thanks:
(phrase) This is a polite phrase to use in any type of shop/store when a shop assistant asks you if you need any help or assistance. It's basically a polite way of saying 'no', e.g. 'do you need any help?' 'no, it's fine thanks'. It has a similar meaning to 'I'm just looking', but 'no, it's fine thanks' can be used both when a shop assistant speaks to you for the first time or when they have already spoken to you before in the shop (e.g. 'we have a 15% discount on levi's jeans. I can bring you a pair?' 'no, it's fine thanks'). 'I'm just looking' can only be used once and only after the first time the shop assistant has spoken to you. In Spanish: "no, gracias".

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No, it's fine thanks:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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13. When clothes can't be cleaned using any water, they are
         

Dry clean:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to dry clean'. This is a method of cleaning clothes where they are cleaned using chemicals without water. Most types of clothes can be 'dry cleaned', but if the piece of clothing is 'dry clean only' (e.g. clothes which are delicate like suits, some dresses etc...), it means that it would be damaged if washed with soap and water. Normally, only specialist shops called 'dry cleaner's' can 'dry clean' clothes. You can find out if a piece/item of clothing has to be 'dry cleaned' by looking at the label which is on inside of the piece of clothing or by asking the shop assistant 'is this dry clean only?'. Clothes can also be 'hand wash' (which means that they should only be cleaned using soap and water by hand) or 'machine wash' (which means that a piece/item of clothing can be cleaned in a washing machine with soap and water). In Spanish: "limpiar a seco".

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Dry clean:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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14. When you 'order/request' a product in a shop/store so you can buy it when it is available for sale, is
         

Reserve:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to reserve'. In this context, it is a way to order/request a product in a shop/store that they currently don't have or is unavailable (they have sold out or it has not been released yet). 'reserve' basically has the same meaning as 'order'. When you 'reserve' a product, the shop/store will keep/hold the product for you until you go to buy it, e.g. 'I reserved a new iPad last week, my name is Simon Ward'. In Spanish: "reservar/guardar".

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Reserve:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

Now that you understand the new vocabulary, practise it by creating your own sentences with the new words/phrases.