Everyone loves shopping, or at least most of us!

Whether you like shopping or not, this is an essential activity to survive in our modern society. If you are staying in an English speaking country, it will therefore be important to learn how to buy essential items like food and toiletries as well as other things like clothes or books. So here is a selection of words and idioms to use the next time you go to a store, mall or supermarket overseas.

To choose

Excuse me, I’m looking for … – This sentence is very useful to avoid wasting time wandering around a huge store looking for something special. It will allow you to ask a seller where the item is located. You could, for example, request the location of a specific product: “I’m looking for shampoo / a charger for my phone” or a particular department: “I’m looking for the lingerie department / the winter coats section “.

I’m just looking, thanks – chances are a salesperson will come up to you and ask if you need help or if you’re looking for something specific. This expression will let you know that you can manage without his help and that you are just strolling around the store.

Could I try this on? – this question will be asked by a salesperson to find out if you want to try an item to verify that it fits you before deciding to buy it. The salesperson will then show you the fitting rooms in the store.

Do you have this in… – in a larger / smaller size, in blue / pink? This question is useful to ask if you want to try or buy something in another color or size.

Could I return this please? – This question will allow you to request to exchange an item that you have purchased and that does not suit you or to obtain a refund.

Learn English online with the support of certified teachers:

7 days free trial!

It is the logical continuation of the 1st advice! You have to choose your fabrics well 😉

When you flash on a fabric, you should ideally buy it with already an idea in mind on its future use … (otherwise, big risk of seeing it finish forgotten in the closet of the workshop!) And ensure that it is well suited to the project (quality, weight, fluidity, …) under penalty of wasting time and money …

Otherwise, we must at least ensure that it is a pattern that we dare to wear and a color that suits us or that corresponds to the usual tones of our dressing room. It will facilitate assembly with your other clothes and therefore it will automatically increase its portability.

Finally, I advise you to take advantage of sales periods or promotions made by haberdashery (subscribe to newsletters, follow on Instagram, …). Knowing how to wait often saves money.


Can I pay by card? – if the vast majority of stores now accept payment by bank cards, some small shops do not yet have the necessary equipment and it is therefore important to check that you can use your card to pay for your purchases or whether to pay in species.

Are you in the queue? – if you are in a rush hour store, you may need to take your place in a queue to check out. This question will allow you to politely check whether someone is in the queue or not, to find out if you can pass them.

It’s me – this expression means that you want to pay for someone’s gift or give them a gift. In other words, payment will be at your expense. It’s a phrase that is commonly used in restaurants or bars: “Don’t worry about it, the bill’s on me. “