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English conversation practice: Shopping!

 When was the last time you went shopping? Not very long ago, I imagine. After all, shopping is something we all do at least once a week! So, as a result it’s a great topic of conversation for language learners like you.

So, just to help you talk about this popular subject, here are some useful words and expressions on shopping.  Once you’ve learnt them, you can watch a video with two people chatting about shopping to help with your listening skills. Then, by the end of this lesson, you’ll be able to talk about shopping in English, easily!


If you “spend” money, you use it to buy something.

“I spent a lot of money on food yesterday.”


A “discount” is a reduction in the price of something.

“There’s a 20% discount on all clothes today.”

On sale

If something is “on sale”, it’s offered at a reduced price.

“The shirts are on sale with over 50% off the normal price!”


A “bargain” is a really low price for something that’s great value for money.

“I got some great bargains in the sales this year.”

The sales

During the “sales”, products are a lot cheaper than they normally are.

“The sales start tomorrow so I’m going to look for some bargains.”

Changing rooms

A “changing room” is a little room where you can try on clothes.

“Where are the changing rooms, please?

(Shopping) trolley (US English = Cart)

A “shopping trolley” is an object with 4 wheels for carrying heavy shopping. You generally push it with your hands.

“Where are the shopping trolleys, please?”

(Shopping) basket

A “shopping basket” is an object for carrying the things you want to buy. You generally carry it in your hands, or pull it along the floor if it has 2 wheels.

“I put all the food in the basket.”


A “cashier” is the person you pay in a shop. “Cashier” comes from the word “cash”, which is money in the form of coins (metal money) or notes (paper money).
[Of course, you can pay the cashier with a bank card too!]

“The cashier put my food in a plastic bag.”


A “cash-till” is a machine for calculating how much your shopping will cost. It is also where the cashier puts the money you give him/her.

“The cashier took some money out of the cash-till.”


“Change” is money in the form of coins (not notes, which is paper money). Or, it can mean the money you receive from the cashier after you’ve paid for something.

“The cashier put the change on the counter.”


A “receipt” is a piece of paper that shows you how much your shopping costs.

“The cashier gave me the receipt.”

Shop assistant

A “shop assistant” is the person who works in a shop, helping customers.

“The shop assistant showed me where the changing rooms were.”

Retail therapy

Some people believe that shopping can help you if you’re feeling a bit depressed, sad or down. This is known as “retail therapy”.

“I’m feeling a bit depressed today. I think some retail therapy might help.”


Now, you’re going to watch a video with two people talking about the topic. Watch it and answer the questions.

  1. What does Nayeli need to buy?
  2. When is Nayeli planning to go shopping?
  3. What does Kennedy think about retail therapy?
  4. What does Kennedy say is the worst part about shopping?
  5. What does Kennedy say about the sales with regard to shirts?


Here are the answers:

  1. Nayeli needs to buy some new summer clothes, because she doesn’t have any,


  1. Nayeli is planning to go shopping after work.


  1. Kennedy thinks that retail therapy can make you feel a lot better.


  1. Kennedy says the worst part about shopping is always wanting things you don’t need.


  1. Kennedy says that she’s often tempted to spend $10 on five shirts even though she doesn’t need five shirts.


Now it’s your turn! See if you can answer these questions about the topic. Good luck!

  • Where do you usually go shopping?
  • When was the last time you bought something in the sales? What was it?
  • When did you last get a good bargain? What was it?
  • What are some of your favourite shops? Why do you like them?
  • Which online shops do you use? Why?
  • What do you think about retail therapy? Can it work?

Video Transcription: Shopping

N: So, it’s that time of the season again. I need to go shopping and buy myself new clothes because I don’t have anything to wear for the summer.

K: Oh no.

N: Yeah, so I’m planning to go after work and just buy myself some new outfits, you know. But, it’s always hard because I don’t want to spend that much.

K: Yup. I don’t like spending money, so shopping is very hard for me. But, you know, I really do believe in retail therapy. I think it can be really helpful to just get yourself some new clothes, like feel a lot better about your appearance and then your work gets better…

N: Yes.

K: …maybe you start to eat healthier, things like that. Like, it’s just so helpful for so many different things.

N: Yeah, it’s just always trying to find the bargains, you know?

K: Absolutely.

N: So that you don’t end up, like, spending hundreds of dollars on things that you don’t really need that much, but…

K: Yeah, but you always want the things you don’t need.

N: Exactly.

K: That’s the worst part about shopping.

N: Exactly. That’s why it’s always hard to go into a store, especially when it says “Sale”.

K: Oh yeah, sales kill me. ‘Cause I think to myself, “Oh I can buy five shirts for ten dollars”. I don’t need five shirts.

N: Right?

K: I just, I don’t need them.

N: Exactly, but oh my god. It’s in black, but I also need it in white, but also in grey. So it’s…

K: Shopping is hard.

N: It’s hard.

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