1. Asking For What You Want
Marie: Hello, do you need any help?
Daniel: Yes, I’ve found this blue jacket, but I can only find L and XL sizes. Do you have it in a medium?
M: I’m afraid we’re sold out, but we do have the same style in brown. It’s just over here.
D: Ah… Yes, that’s nice, too, but I really like the blue. Will you be getting any more in?
M: Unfortunately not. It’s the end of the season, so we’re getting some new styles in from next week. The ones you see here are the last we have in stock. If you want, you could check our website; it might be possible to order it online.
D: Thanks, but I need something for a party this weekend, plus I don’t like to buy clothes without trying them on first.
M: Sure, I understand. Would you like to try the brown one on?
D: Yes, sure. Where do I go?
M: The changing rooms are just over there.
In the dialogue, you heard some useful language related to buying clothing when clothes shopping. If you can’t find what you need when you’re going shopping in English, what could you say?
In the dialogue, you heard:
- Do you have it in a medium?
You could use this question in other ways. For example:
- Do you have this in a small?
- Do you have this top in green?
You could also use ‘I’m looking for…’ to say what you want or ask for information. For example:
- I’m looking for a formal dress to wear to a wedding.
- I’m looking for some running shoes.
Next, look at three phrases from the dialogue. Could you explain what they mean?
- We’re sold out.
- Will you be getting any more in?
- These are the last we have in stock.
‘Sold out’ means that they’ve sold everything, so this product isn’t available any more. For example, if you say that ‘Tickets for the concert have sold out’, you mean that all the tickets have been sold, and you can’t buy tickets now. ‘Get in’ is a phrasal verb which can mean ‘have a product delivered’. It’s generally used to talk about shops and products which they sell. For example, a shop assistant might say, ‘We’re getting more sizes in next Monday.’ That means that new products will be delivered next Monday, and you’ll be able to find a wider range of sizes.
‘In stock’ means available, so you can buy the thing. The opposite is ‘out of stock’. If a shop assistant says ‘We’re out of stock at the moment’, he or she is telling you that the product isn’t available.
Next, let’s see how you can talk about prices, deals and discounts when going shopping in English.
2. Talking About Prices and Discounts
Marie: Excuse me?
M: I’m interested in buying these chairs, but I can’t see a price tag. Can you tell me how much they are?
D: Sure, let me check… Forty-nine ninety-nine each, or one hundred and eighty-five ninety-nine for the set of four.
M: That seems strange. I saw an advertisement that said they’re buy one get one free.
D: Ah! That’s a different product. I know the ones you mean; they’re just over here.
M: Right! That’s what I was looking for. So, how much are these?
D: One is seventy-nine ninety-nine, or two nine nine ninety-nine for a set of four. Of course, with the buy one get one offer, you can buy two for seventy-nine ninety-nine, or four for… what would that be? One sixty.
M: Perfect! I’ll take the set of four. What do I do? Is there a catalogue number?
D: Yes, just write down the number which is here, or take a picture with your phone. Pay at the cash register, then go to the collection point to get your products.
M: I almost forgot: I have a loyalty card. Does that mean I get a 5% discount?
D: Normally, yes, but your loyalty discount can’t be used with other offers like this.
M: Yeah, that’s what I thought. Anyway, thanks for your help!
If you want to know how much something costs when going shopping in English, you can ask a simple question: ‘How much is…?’ or ‘How much are…?’ For example:
- How much are these shoes?
- How much is this tablet?
You could also ask in a slightly more formal way, as in: ‘Can you tell me how much … are?’ or ‘Can you tell me how much … is?’ For example:
- Can you tell me how much these trousers are?
- Can you tell me how much this electric toothbrush is?
In spoken English, people sometimes don’t read full numbers, especially numbers between one hundred and one thousand. Instead, they break the number into parts. So, instead of ‘four hundred (and) forty-nine’, you might hear ‘four-four-nine’. This doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s not unusual, either.
For numbers above one thousand, the number is often broken into two parts. So, instead of ‘one thousand two hundred (and) seventy-five’, you might hear ‘twelve seventy-five’, or even ‘twelve seven five’.
In the dialogue, the shop assistant said that a set of four chairs would cost two nine nine ninety-nine. Two nine nine ninety-nine. What does this mean? Can you write down the number?
Let’s do some more practice with this quickly. You’re going to hear five prices, which might use the conversational style you just saw. After you hear each price, pause the video and write down the number. You’ll see the answers at the end.
Ready? Let’s start!
- Three-two-five fifty.
- Fifteen sixty-nine.
- Ten ninety-nine.
- Eight eight eight thirty.
- Two four nine nine.
How was that? Difficult? If so, don’t worry! Rewind the video and listen once more. You’ll see the answers in a second.
- 15.69 OR 1569
- 888.30 OR 88830
- 24.99 OR 2499
How did you do? Could you hear the prices correctly? Understanding numbers, especially when people are expressing numbers in English in this conversational way, can really help you when you’re going shopping in English, in an English-speaking country.
Next, let’s look at another common task when you’re shopping: arranging delivery.
3. Arranging Deliveries
Marie: Yes, can I help?
Daniel: [hesitant] Well… I’ve just bought this TV…
D: And… It’s much bigger than I expected. I’m not sure it’ll fit in my car. Do you offer a delivery service?
M: Yes, of course! I’m surprised they didn’t mention it to you when you paid.
D: That’s great! So, what do I do?
M: Can I take your receipt, please?
D: Of course; here you are.
M: Let me see… The earliest we could deliver it would be next Wednesday. Does that work for you?
D: I’m at work during the week. Do you deliver at weekends?
M: We can deliver on Saturdays, but there’s a four-pound charge.
D: That’s fine.
M: So, next Saturday, the 29th?
D: That works, but what time will it be?
M: We deliver between ten AM and four PM.
D: You can’t give me a more specific time than that?
M: I’m afraid not. All of our delivery slots are six hours.
D: I guess I’ll have to take it, then.
M: OK, so you just need to pay the weekend delivery charge, and then we can set everything up for you.
D: Can I pay by card?
M: Of course.
Of course, it’s more common nowadays to order things online and have them delivered to your home. But maybe you want to see your new TV screen in action, try out your new sofa, or check that your new table will match the living room in your home. In this case, you might need to arrange a delivery in the shop.
More practice: Talking About Your Home in English lesson from Oxford Online English.
To get something ordered, you could ask:
- Can I have this delivered?
- Do you offer a delivery service?
- Can you deliver this to my house?
Quick quiz: you heard one of these three questions in the dialogue. Which one?
You heard the second one. However, they all have the same meaning. You can use any of them! You might also need to ask more specific questions about the delivery, like:
- Do you deliver at weekends?
- What time will it be?
- Do you have any slots available next Friday?
- Does weekend delivery cost extra?
What does that word ‘slot’ mean? A ‘slot’ is a time period when something can happen. Often, a shop or company will give you a delivery slot, for example from nine in the morning to two in the afternoon. You know your delivery will arrive sometime in that window, but you don’t know exactly when.
Now, you can ask about availability, ask about prices, and arrange a delivery if you need to. But, what if you have a problem with something you bought in a shop? Let’s find out, as we continue going shopping in English.
4. Refunds and Exchanges
Daniel: Hello, what can I do for you?
Marie: Hi, yes, I bought these jeans last week, and I’d like to return them.
D: Do you have your receipt?
M: Yes, here you are.
D: Was anything wrong with the jeans?
M: No, no problem, they’re just the wrong size. They’re too small.
D: Would you like to exchange them for a larger size? I can check if we have them in stock.
M: No, thank you. I decided that I don’t like the style so much, either. Is it possible to get a refund?
D: Of course. Do you have the card you paid with?
M: Can’t I get cash?
D: I’m sorry, but we can only issue a refund to the card you paid with. Alternatively, we can offer you gift vouchers for the same amount.
M: Fine, put it on the card, then.
D: No problem. At the start of the dialogue, you heard:
- I bought these jeans last week, and I’d like to return them.
‘Return’ could mean different things. Generally, you can replace something, meaning you get another of the same thing. For example, if you buy a new phone, and it doesn’t work when you take it out of the box, you might ask to replace it—you get a new version of the same phone.
You could also ask to exchange the product you bought, meaning you give back the one you bought, and take a different one, instead. Maybe you bought some clothes, but then you decided they don’t look as good as you hoped, and you want to take something different.
Finally, you can ask for a refund, and get your money back. When you take something back to a shop, you might hear questions like:
- Do you have your receipt?
- Was anything wrong with …?
- Would you like to exchange it for something else?
Let’s do a quick practice. Look at six answers, which belong with these three questions. Can you match the answers to the questions?
- No, thank you. I’d just like my money back.
- No, I just changed my mind.
- I’m afraid I lost it.
- Yes, I switched it on, but it isn’t working.
- Yes, could I try another one?
- Yes, here you are.
Pause the video and think about your answers. Ready? Let’s look!
- Do you have your receipt?
- → Yes, here you are.
- → I’m afraid I lost it.
- Was anything wrong with …?
- → No, I just changed my mind.
- → Yes, I switched it on, but it isn’t working.
- Would you like to exchange it for something else?
- → Yes, could I try another one?
- → No, thank you. I’d just like my money back.
Remember that you can always go back and rewatch the dialogues or any section of this video if you need more practice with these words and phrases. Hopefully this lesson gave you useful phrases for going shopping in English!
Thanks for watching!