Introduction:

One of the things that you will have to do when you are in a foreign country is shop. And although some times it is very easy to buy something without saying anything apart from 'please' and 'thank you', there will be occasions when you will have to speak to people in a shop about something. To know shopping vocabulary in English will help you in this situation.

In this online exercise, we will look at common vocabulary for shopping in English. Although the focus here is on supermarket shopping, the majority of the vocabulary can be used when shopping in other places as well.


Exercise: Shopping in a supermarket

Read the following conversation where Peter and Juan are shopping in a luxury supermarket in Skipton in the North of England.

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.

Peter:'What do you want to buy here?'

Juan:'As we're in England, I thought I'd take advantage to buy somethings you can't do in Spain. Also, I need to buy a gift for the wife. Are there any baskets to carry them in while in the supermarket? Oh, there they are.'

'Where are the scarfs?'

Peter:'No idea. You should ask one of the shop assistants.'

Juan:'Excuse me, where are the scarfs?'

Shop Assistant 1: 'Yes sir, they are in the third aisle on your right, in the same aisle as the socks and underwear.'

Juan:'Thanks. It's a gift for my wife, where can I get it wrapped?

Shop Assistant 1:'I'm afraid that we don't offer the service to wrap gifts here. You would have to do it yourself.'

Juan:'OK. And where is the cheese?'

Shop Assistant 1:'In two places. The pre-packaged cheese is in the cheese aisle just in front of us, or you can also get cheese from the counter at the back of the supermarket. At the counter, they'll cut and weigh the cheese for you.'

Juan:'Thank you.'

30 minutes later

Peter:'My god, how much are you going to buy, your basket is full.'

Juan:'I got carried away. Where can I pay for them?'

Peter:'At the checkout in front of the entrance.'

2 minutes later at the checkout

Shop Assistant 2:'Good afternoon. There's an offer on the biscuits, there's 20% off.

Juan:'A discount, excellent.'

Shop Assistant 2:'That'll be 126 pounds and 25 pence. How would you like to pay with cash or card?'

Juan:'By credit card.'

Shop Assistant 2:'Would you like cashback?'

Juan:'No, we're leaving the country today, so I don't need any more pounds.'

Shop Assistant 2:'If you can enter your pin number on the keyboard. Thank you. Ok, here's your receipt. If you find any problems with anything you've bought, you have 14 days from today to return them and we'll replace them, or exchange them for something else. Or if you want the money, you can have a full refund.'


 Link to Dictionary


Quiz: Essential English vocabulary for shopping

Below is a definition/description of each of the words/phrases in bold from the above text. Now fill in the blanks with one of these words/phrases in bold. Only use one word/phrase once and write it as it is in the text. 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. A place in a supermarket where you are served products like meat, fish, cheese etc..., is the    

         

Counter:
(noun) It is the place in a supermarket which isn't self-service, where a shop assistant serves/gives you a product. In supermarkets they are called the cheese counter, meat counter etc... In small shops, the counter is also where you pay for things. In Spanish: "mostrador".

Close

Counter:

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.

       

Close

2. The place in a supermarket where you pay, is the    

         

Checkout:
(noun) The place where you pay for items in a supermarket. It is also called the till. Often, it is sufficient to ask, 'where can I pay for this?' The verb 'to check out' is never used in this context. This verb is only used in hotels when you pay and leave the hotel. In Spanish: "caja".

Close

Checkout:

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.

       

Close

3. The place that you walk through when you are picking items in a supermarket, is called the    

         

Aisle:
(noun) The place that you walk where on either side of you there are shelves of products. This is also used in the cinema, on planes, trains etc... for the area that people can walk freely between the seats. In Spanish: "pasillo".

Close

Aisle:

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.

       

Close

4. When you want to return something and get your money back, you ask for a    

         

Refund:
(noun) It is used with the adjective 'full' to mean get all your money back, e.g. 'a full refund'. Often in Britain and America it is difficult to get a full refund, they normally offer to replace or exchange it for another product. In Spanish: "reembolso".

Close

Refund:

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.

       

Close

5. The things that people normally carry their shopping inside, when they are in a shop, are    

         

Baskets:
(noun) There are two things that you can carry your shopping in. The first is a basket, that is small and you carry with your arms. The second is a trolley (or cart in Amercia), that is bigger, always has wheels and you have to push it. In Spanish: "cesta".

Close

Baskets:

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.

       

Close

6. The system of taking out money from your bank account at the checkout, is called    

         

Cashback:
(noun) 'cash' is another word for 'money'. Normally, when you pay for something by credit or debit card, they offer you the possibility to withdraw money from your bank account (like you do when using a bank cash machine/ATM). This service is called 'cashback'. In many countries this service isn't available. In Spanish: "sacar".

Close

Cashback:

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.

       

Close

7. A different way of saying discount, is    

         

Off:
(adverb) It is very common to see 'off' used in the English-speaking world to mean discount. It always follows the quantity of the discount, e.g. '30% off' In Spanish: "de descuento".

Close

Off:

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.

       

Close

8. The number code you enter to confirm you're the owner of a bank card, is a    

         

PIN number:
(noun) PIN is Personal Identity Number, but most people call it 'PIN number'. It is the code every bank card has to use a cash machine/ATM. Because in Britain and America there is no Identity Card, you have to enter your PIN number when you want to use the card in a shop/store. In Spanish: "número personal de identificación ".

Close

PIN number:

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.

       

Close

9. When you take something back to a shop you have bought because of a problem or you don't want it, is    

         

Return:
(verb) Normally, in the Anglo-Saxon world when you return an item you have bought to a shop, you have to provide a good reason why you are doing it, e.g. 'it's not working' or 'it's an unwanted gift'. Often, you can't return something if you have just changed mind. Some shop/stores limit the time you have to return something after buying it. So check the receipt. In Spanish: "devolver".

Close

Return:

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.

       

Close

10. The piece of paper you receive after buying something, is called the    

         

Receipt:
(noun) You will receive a 'receipt' when buying something in a shop, but in a taxi you will have to ask for one. In Spanish: "ticket".

Close

Receipt:

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.

       

Close

11. A shop will often do this when something you have bought is damaged,    

         

Replace:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to replace'. Normally, a shop will replace something that is damaged/not working with an exact replacement. In Spanish: "reponer".

Close

Replace:

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.

       

Close

12. When you cover a gift/present in nice paper, it is    

         

Wrapped:
(verb) The infinitive is 'to wrap'. It is not normal in the Anglo-Saxon world for shops/stores to wrap gifts you have bought there for free. Normally, you have to do it yourself or pay someone to do it. In Spanish: "envolver".

Close

Wrapped:

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.

       

Close

13. The people that work in a shop that aren't managers, are called    

         

Shop assistants:
(noun) Also called 'Salesclerk' in America and 'Sales Assistant'. In Spanish: "dependientes".

Close

Shop assistants:

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.

       

Close








Practice

Now that you understand the shopping vocabulary, practice them by creating your own sentences in English with the new words/phrases.