Vocabulary – How to Talk about Shopping!

(Photo by ellewoods)



Do you like shopping? Let’s go shopping! (NOTE: it is not go to shopping.) Let’s take a look at some vocabulary related to shopping.




Do you have money to spend on clothes? If you not, you can still enjoy window-shopping. It’s free! When you window-shop, you just look at all the things for sale in a store without intending to buy anything.

If you do have money to spend on clothes, do you prefer to wait for a sale or do you shop when you need something? If something is for sale, you can buy it for money. If something is on sale, the price has been reduced from the original price.

When you find a piece of clothing you like in a store, it’s a good idea to try it on first before you buy it. You want to make sure that it fits. If you want to try something on, find a sales associate and ask: Can I try this on? or May I try this on? The sales associate will show you to the change rooms (also called ‘fitting rooms’ or ‘changing rooms’). While you are trying the clothes on, the sales associate sometimes asks: Does it fit? Would you like to try it in another size?

When you have decided to buy something, take all your items to the cash desk (or cashier) to pay for them. In Canada you have three options: you can pay by debit card (your bank card), use your credit card or pay cash. Most places accept a cheque, but almost nobody uses cheques to pay for things in a store anymore.

The cashier will put your new clothes in a paper or plastic bag, and then you get to take your new clothes home!


retail therapy

(noun) = this occurs when you go shopping and buy yourself things in order to make yourself feel better (when you are sad or unhappy)!

I’m really upset about breaking up with my boyfriend. I need some retail therapy!


a shopping spree

(noun) = you spend a lot of money and do a lot of shopping in a short amount of time.

She went on a shopping spree this afternoon! It looks like she bought everything in the store.


to shop till you drop

(verb expression) = to spend so much time and so much money shopping that you are physically and financially tired, you are ready to drop from exhaustion! You are so tired that you can’t shop anymore!
A lot of stores are putting out their fall clothes now. Are you ready to shop till you drop?


to shop around

(phrasal verb) = before buying an expensive item (like household appliances or a car), you should compare the price and quality of the item in different stores.

We shopped around before buying the kitchen table, and we found that Sears had the best deal.


to shoplift

(verb) = to steal something from a store (to take something without paying for it).

My son was caught shoplifting. He stole a $100 jacket from The Gap.


7 Comments on Vocabulary – How to Talk about Shopping!

  1. cataly
    February 6, 2013 at 5:18 am (3 years ago)

    thanks for your articles! They help me give new vocabulary to the language club I am running.Keep the track!!!

  2. Rodney Jude
    September 17, 2013 at 4:46 am (2 years ago)

    Hello Melanie,

    I know you posted this almost three years ago, but I happened to see your webpage today and have been glued since. Learnt a few things from here and your doing a fab work, keep it up!

    Well, my question is, can I say – It looks like she bought everything from the store? Taken from example – a shopping spree.

    Thank you for answering :-)

    • Melanie
      September 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi, Rodney,

      In this context, ‘from’ is not used.

      “It looks like she bought everything in the store.” is an exaggeration. She didn’t actually buy everything that was for sale in the store, she just but a lot of stuff.

      “She bought everything from the Gap.” is an actual statement. You buy clothing FROM a store. In this context, it’s not used to exaggerate.

      = )

  3. Rodney Jude
    October 9, 2013 at 11:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Thank you very much.

  4. Fernando Victorica
    May 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks a lot! they are really useful

  5. nora
    November 8, 2014 at 7:18 pm (1 year ago)

    Thanks alot … it was very useful for me .

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