Vocabulary builder – Pre-intermediate and Intermediate level – Shopping vocabulary
Shopping and consumer goods
In British English, stores are large shops that sell lots of different things — a department store, for example, which has a shoe department, a cosmetics department and so on. A chain store has branches all over the country.
shop especially British English, store especially American English a building or place where things are sold
boutique a small shop that sells fashionable clothes or other objects
outlet formal a shop that sells things for less than the usual price, especially things from a particular company or things of a particular type
A shopping centre or shopping mall is a place with lots of different shops under cover in one place.
Kinds of Shop
and Variations between Br. English and Am. English
in shopping vocabulary topic
How do supermarkets make us1 spend more money?
They put fresh2 bread, as it smells lovely, near the entrance3 to make us feel hungry – and hungry shoppers spend more. They also rearrange things and put them in different places; this makes us spend more time in the store and that means spending more money. They put sweets and chocolate near the checkout, so it is easy to add bars of chocolate to our basket or trolley while we are waiting in the queue4. And they put the most expensive items5 on the middle shelves where you are more likely6 to see them. And be careful of special offers7, e.g. three for the price of two. People often buy more than they need and throw away half of it.
1 cause us to do or be something, e.g. I don’t like rain; it makes me depressed.
2 just made/cooked
3 the place where you go into a building
4 /kjuː/ a line of people who are waiting for something
5 an item is a single thing
6 If you are likely to do something, you will probably do it.
7 cheaper prices than normal
Shopping centers and street markets
Some people like modern shopping centres1 because everything is under one roof2 and it is convenient3. There’s a wide range4 of shops, and if there is anything wrong with something you buy, the shop will replace5 it, or give you a refund6.
Other people prefer going to street markets because they like the atmosphere7 you get from the different stalls. Food and clothes are also usually cheaper in street markets. Sometimes you can try to agree a lower price for something you buy in a street market; we call this haggling. Of course, if you don’t like what you buy in a street market, you can’t normally take it back and get a refund.
1 large covered shopping areas
2 in one place
3 practical and easy to use
4 different things of the same type
5 exchange it for another one
6 money that is paid back to you when you return something
7 the feeling in a place or situation
To go shopping versus to do the shopping
To go shopping means that your intentions are to buy things because you want to or because you need a new version of something. There isn’t necessarily any routine aspect to this action, but for pleasure.
To do the shopping describes the regular process of going to the supermarket to buy food and the other necessary items we need to live on a day to day basis. There is an aspect of doing this regularly and it is more of an obligation than an enjoyable activity, for most.
Some common expressions
Tom: That leather bag’s £120. Shall I see if he’ll sell it cheaper?
Lily: Yes, why don’t you try and beat him down to £100.
Jill: Did you manage to get that car you wanted for a lower price?
Sandy: Yes, the dealer knocked 10% off the price because I offered to pay cash.
Larry: I’m not going to buy stuff at those gift shops again. They really ripped me off last time.
Sue: Yes, a lot of those tourist shops are a real rip-off. You can get the same things in ordinary shops for half the price. [noun: from the verb rip off]
Nora: This s a nice old vase. Is it an antique?
Beryl: Yes, it is, but I picked it up for €30. It was a real bargain.
Fran: It would be nice to buy something for our teacher now that the course is ending.
Paco: Yes, we should club together and get her some flowers or a nice gift.
Martin: Shall we buy the TV set here? It’s a big store.
Pilar: No, let’s shop around a bit. They may be cheaper somewhere else.
Aaron: Mick is selling Madonna’s autograph for $20. Should I buy it?
Ritchie: If I were you, I’d snap it up. It could become very valuable in the future.
Meg: The car failed its annual test yesterday. Two of the tyres are badly worn.
Simon: Oh no! Now we have to fork out for two new ones!
We should stock up on fruit vegetables and not buy so much junk food.
stock up [buy large quantities]
We should never skimp on healthys.
skimp on [spend too little money on or use too little]
We splashed out on lots of new furniture last month and ran up a huge bill.
plash out [spent a lot of money on something we didn’t really need]
run up [caused ourselves to have to pay]
They’re selling off printers at half price at the computer store.
Sell off [selling to get rid of them]
Shall we go and look at them right away in case they sell out?
Sell out [have none left]
1 buying in bulk to beat inflation
2 looking out for genuine reductions and real bargains in the sales
3 buying supermarket brands rather than brand-name products
4 buying economy-size packets and tins of things
5 collecting packet tops that offer discounts on the next purchase, have ‘5p off’ labels on them or contain
forms for special offers
6 looking out for special HP (hire-purchase) deals at good rates of interest
7 delaying payment of bills until the final demand
8 taking your holidays out of season at cheap rates
9 buying second-hand clothes in jumble sales or charity shops
10 buying products that offer trading stamps or gift vouchers or competitions with once-in-a-lifetime prizes
11 using the telephone at off-peak, cheap-rate times
12 shopping only at places where money
can be refunded rather than goods exchanged
13 changing your foreign currency when the rates of exchange are favourable
14 checking your bank statement and cheque counterfoils to make sure there are no errors