How to Shop in English
Your questions: Ask a cashier or salesperson
- Excuse me…how much is…?
- What does …. cost?
- How much is the tax?
- Is “this” on sale?
- What is the price after the discount?
- What’s the total?
- How much do I owe you?
- Do you take/accept cash? (OR credit card, debit, cheques)
- Is this new or used?
- May I try this on?
- Do you have “this” in…? (a different size: extra small, small, medium, large, extra large)
- Can you tell me where the … are? (apples, coats)
- Can I return this if I need to?
Your problems: Tell a clerk or salesperson
- I’m afraid, you gave me the wrong change. (incorrect money back after you make a purchase)
- It doesn’t fit.
- It’s the wrong size.
- I need to return this. OR I need to take this back.
- I lost my receipt. (paper that shows proof of purchase)
- Excuse me, I can’t find the … (ladies clothing, men’s wear, toy section)
Special Offers and Deals: Watch for these signs and ads
- Buy one get one free
- Buy one get 50% off your second item
- Buy now pay later
- Pay no money down (no down payment is required)
- Kids eat free (usually with the purchase of an adult meal)
- Senior’s discount (people 65 and older get a reduced price)
- All out-of season stock on sale (ex. summer clothing is on sale at the end of summer)
Restrictions: Watch for these Warnings (sometimes in small print)
- Deposit required (you must pay a small amount to hold the item)
- No delivery
- No exchanges or refunds (you can’t bring an item back if you decide you don’t like it)
- Exchange only (you can’t get money back; you can change for a different in-store item)
- No coupons on/during/after… (often on a certain day or at a certain time)
- Discount or coupon not valid with other special offers
- Expires … (date you can no longer use coupon or item)
Bonus Expressions to remember
- It’s okay to put something back on the shelf if the price is too high. The clerk might put it away for you. Smile and say, “Sorry, that’s more than I thought it would be.”
- It’s polite to have small talk with the cashier. If the price is great, smile and say, “That’s a good deal!”
Survival Challenge: Watch the video “Let’s go Shopping”. What does the shopper say when she decides to buy an item? Put your answer in the comment section.
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.