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Shopping English Phrases

Looking to head to the supermarket? It can be great a place to get some language practice in! Not only are there signs and advertisements written everywhere, but you can also talk to employees and get help if you need it.

Below, we’ve collected lots of phrases and example sentences that will be useful to you on your next shopping trip. Learn what questions to ask employees, what to say at check out, and much more. Let’s get started improving your English!

Questions from an Employee

Supermarket employees are usually friendly, polite, and there to help you. In the English-speaking world they will often offer you their help by using any of the questions we’ve gathered for you below.

Can I help you?
May I help you?
How can I help you?
Are you looking for something in particular?
Is someone looking after you?
Can I help you?
This is probably the most common question you will hear from employees at a supermarket. There are a few other common ways to ask this, such as: ⁠How can I help you?, ⁠May I help you?, or ⁠How may I help you?. They are all used equally and you’d probably hear all of them at a supermarket or in other stores. You could respond to any of these questions with either Yes or No, or a request such as, ⁠Could you show me where the organic vegetables are?.
Is someone looking after you?
In this question looking after you means the same thing as helping you. An employee may ask you this if they are unsure if somebody else is already helping you. You could respond many different ways. For example like this: ⁠Not at the moment, but I don’t think I need any help, thank you.

Asking an Employee for Help

Sometimes we have trouble finding items in a grocery store, don’t know the price of something, or just need somebody’s opinion on what to buy. Using the questions below, you’ll be able to talk to employees and ask for their help.

Excuse me, do you work here?
Excuse me, could you help me?
Do you have any whole-grain cereals?
Do you sell salt and vinegar chips?
Could you tell me where granola bars are?
Where can I find the international food section?
I need to find some Indian spices.
I’m looking for potato chips.
I’d like a bottle of milk, please.
Have you got any cheese?
How much is a bottle of milk?
Is this item on sale?
Excuse me, do you work here?
If you are unsure whether somebody works at a store you are in, you could use this question to double check before asking them any further questions. If they do work there, then they might say something like: ⁠Yes, I do. You could then ask either ⁠Could I ask you something? or ⁠Could you help me? in order to get some help. Both of these sentences are also good ways to get an employee’s attention.
Do you have any whole-grain cereals?
The sentence pattern, Do you have any + ITEM ?, can be used to find out if a store carries a specific item. For example: ⁠Do you have any potato chips?. Alternatively, you could also use the sentence pattern Do you carry + ITEM ?. An example of this is: ⁠Do you carry local made jams?. Some example responses to these questions are: ⁠Yes, in aisle three or ⁠No, unfortunately we ran out of that.
Where can I find the international food section?
Use the sentence pattern, Where can I find + ITEM ?, to create questions in order to find out where something is in a store. Another example of this is: ⁠Where can I find organic products?. You could also use the sentence pattern, What aisle are + ITEMS + in?, to ask the same thing. For example, you could ask ⁠What aisle are international foods in?. A response to this question or a question like Where can I find the international food section? might be something like ⁠In aisle four near the soup section.
How much is a bottle of milk?
If you are unsure of the price of an item, you can ask an employee by using the sentence pattern How much is + ITEM ? to find out. For example, like this: ⁠How much are these blueberries?. A possible answer could be something like: ⁠A package of blueberries costs $2.99.

At Checkout

Checkout is your last stop while grocery shopping. It’s where you pay for and bag your items. Employees often have a few more questions for you, and we’ve gathered them as well as some other useful phrases for you below.

Did you find everything you needed?
That’s $55 altogether.
Can I pay with a credit card?
You don’t happen to have any change, do you?
Here’s your change.
Keep the change.
Could you help me with the self-checkout please?
Would you like a bag?
Would you like a receipt?
Thank you, have a nice day!
Did you find everything you needed?
This is generally the first question a cashier will ask you at checkout. It’s a polite way to ask if there is anything else that you need help with. Other ways to ask this question include: ⁠Did you find everything okay? or ⁠Did you find everything you were looking for?. You could answer this many different ways. For example, like this: ⁠Yes, the staff was very helpful.
Can I pay with a credit card?
You’ll be able to pay for things with a credit card in most stores throughout the English-speaking world. However, it doesn’t hurt to double check sometimes. If you can’t pay with a credit card in a store, the cashier will most likely say ⁠Sorry, we only take cash. Other ways to find out if you can pay with a credit card are: ⁠Do you take credit? or ⁠Do you accept credit cards?.
You don’t happen to have any change, do you?
Sometimes when you pay for something with cash, the cashier will ask you for more change so that they can give you larger bills of money instead of lots of coins. If you don’t have any extra change on you, you could say ⁠Sorry, I don’t have any change. Most likely the cashier will then respond with something like this: ⁠That’s not a problem.
Keep the change
This is a sentence that you can use after paying with cash. If you don’t want a lot of coins back after your purchase, you could say this to let the cashier know that they can keep the coins they were going to give you. Cashiers might respond with: ⁠Will do, thank you.
Could you help me with the self-checkout please?
Self-checkout is different from normal checkout because you use a computer to add up the prices of your items and to pay for them. You do not have to talk to a cashier. Self-checkout is available in most grocery stores in the United States. Use this question to get the attention of a store employee if you need help. They might respond with something like: ⁠Sure, I’ll be with you in one moment.

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