Who doesn’t love to go shopping? No one can’t get enough of it nowadays. If you live abroad and you need English, it might even get more complicated. Shopping is an essential activity and you have to know what you are dealing with wherever you go. Here are some of the most common English words and phrases you can use anytime you go shopping:

Asking for information

  • What time do you open/close? –You can use this phrase to find out when shops open or close. You will have time to plan your shopping without any last-minute surprise.
  • Are you open on weekends/bank holidays/ festivities? – Use this phrase to find out if that shop you really love is open during festivities or on weekends. It might sound shocking, but as most shops/shopping centers are open 24/7 nowadays, there are still a few that are closed.
  • Have you got(item’s name)?? Do you still sell (item’s name)? You can adopt this phrase to know if your favorite item is still available or it has run out.

Signs you might see

  • Buy one get one free/ two for one –  It is a clear as water, this is a special offer that you’ll see in lots of stores. You can get 2 items for the price of one.
  • Clearance sale/closing down sale/everything must go – When you see this sign, hurry up! You have the chance to get a bargain. Most items sold in stores with this sign attached are incredibly cheap.


  • I’m just browsing/looking, thanks – as soon as you get in, sales assistants may approach you asking if you need anything in particular. Tell them you appreciate their help but, at the moment you are only looking around..
  • Excuse me, I’m looking for… Could you help me find this…– You don’t need to waste a lot of time looking around or searching for the item you need. Just ask a sale assistant working there. They will be more than happy to help you out finding what you need.
  • Could I try this on? –Ask a sales assistant this question and sales assistant will show you where the fitting rooms are.
  • Could I get the receipt please? – this is what to ask when you need the receipt! It is the only way to get a refund/exchange in case you change your mind.


  • Can I pay by cash/card/contactless? – Most shops accept debit/credit cards today. However, some shops still accept only cash. Make sure there are cash machines nearby, just in case you will need to head out to withdraw some cash.
  • Are you queuing (in the queue)? –This is the phrase to use if you want to politely check if someone is in the queue. Be mindful, sometimes it is hard to tell where the queue is. Make sure you are not skipping the queue in order to avoid weird looks or even arguments. You don’t want that right?
  • It’s on me/I’ll take this – if you want to pay for something on behalf of someone else, or give someone a gift then you can say ‘It’s on me.’ What you mean is that the payment is on you, you’ll take care of it. 

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