Supermarkets are great places to get some language practice in! Not only is there written text everywhere in the form of signs, advertisements, and announcements, but we often have to talk to employees in order to find the products that we want. In the tables below, we've gathered lots of phrases and example sentences that will be useful to you on your next shopping trip. Let's get started and expand your English vocabulary!
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.
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 these questions, you'll be able to talk to employees and ask for their help.
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 + NOUN ?, is good to use in order 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 + NOUN ?. An example of this is: Do you carry any potato chips?. 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 + NOUN ?, 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 is + NOUN + 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 this?
If you are unsure of the price of an item, you can ask an employee a question using How much is + NOUN ? 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 dollars.
Is this item on sale?
If an item is on sale then it costs slightly less than normal for a short time. If you're unsure whether something is on sale then you can use this question to find out. A response to this might look something like this: Cereal is on sale only if you buy two boxes together.
Checkout is your last stop while out 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.
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?.
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.
Would you like a receipt?
A receipt is a slip of paper that will show all the items that you have bought and how much you paid for them. Usually after you have paid for your purchase, a cashier will ask Would you like a receipt? In response you could simply answer with either Yes or No, like this: Yes, please. If a cashier does not offer you a receipt, but you would like one, simply ask: Could I get a receipt, please?.
Do you want to find out if a supermarket has a particular item that you're looking for? Then you can first look for a store employee and simply ask questions like: Do you have any fresh strawberries? or Do you carry fresh fruit?. If you just want to know where something is then you can ask questions like: Where can I find imported cheeses? or What aisle is wine in?. Store employees are usually very friendly and can help you find everything you need, so don't feel scared to ask them questions!
When you checkout at a supermarket it's usually not necessary to say much. If you need a bag for something you could ask: Could I get a bag?. Or if you are unsure whether you can pay with credit Card you could ask: Do you take credit? or Do you accept credit cards?. Usually after you have paid for everything, the cashier will ask: Would you like a receipt?. This is a slip of paper that is a summary of your purchases. If you would like one, simply say: Yes, please!. If not then: No, thank you..