Topics and vocabulary    



(intermediate level)


(Are the two statements true or false? Choose from the box.)


  • Oxford Street in London is famous for its elegant and expensive shops.
  • The biggest department stores in London can be found in New Bond Street.



  • The largest department stores are called supermarkets or shopping centres.
  • London is not only the capital but also the shopping centre of Great Britain.



  • A department store is a large shop with things sold in different departments.
  • A supermarket is a large self-service store selling food and household goods.



  • There is a purchase tax on most things you buy in Britain.
  • This tax must be paid monthly to the local authority.



  • The purchase tax is called VAT (Value Added Tax).
  • It's usually included in the prices of goods and so it's paid automatically.



  • You can open an account with most British department stores.
  • This means that you pay the bill in cash after shopping.



  • You get your bill monthly or quarterly if you have an account with a shop.
  • Umbrellas, ties and necklaces can all be bought at the men's department.



  • You can't buy stockings, suspenders and tights at the women's department.
  • You never buy jewellery and groceries at the fashion department.



  • Cassettes, tapes and records are not to be bought at the music department.
  • There are no self-service departments in small department stores in England.



  • Teddy bears and rubber elephants can be bought in the toy department.
  • You don't usually buy gloves and shawls in the electric department.



  • You pay your bill to the very assistant that served you in a department store.
  • You can buy all kinds of shoes and boots at the hardware department.



  • They never wrap small things up in a large department store in Britain.
  • Something is 'for sale' when you can buy it at a reduced price.



  • When something is 'in a sale', you need not pay the full price for it.
  • Being 'for sale' simply means that something can be bought.



  • When buying a thing on hire purchase you don't get directions for use with it.
  • You don't usually buy children's clothes at the outsize department.



  • Electrical appliances cannot be bought on hire purchase in an English shop.
  • The outsize department is sometimes called a fitting-room.



  • Needles, pins, zips and buttons are for sale in the so-called fitting-room.
  • You can buy tumblers, cut-glass vases and bowls in the glassware department.



  • You try on clothes in the fitting-room or fitting-box in a fashion shop.
  • You can't buy writing paper, pencils and drawing pins in a stationery shop.



  • Boots, sandals, slippers and clogs can all be called footwear.
  • Slips, bras, gloves, pants, pins and scissors can all be called underwear.



  • Skirts, blouses, saucepans and jeans can all be bought in a fashion shop.
  • Nobody would be satisfied after striking a good bargain with a shop-keeper.



  • A bargain is an agreement to buy something at a discussed price.
  • If you have a complaint in a shop, you should go to the sales counter.



  • Summer and January 'sales' always mean a cut in prices.
  • It's called stock-taking when the goods in a shop are counted and checked.



  • When you want to buy something cheaper you may look for a special offer.
  • Shops may have special offers when you buy two or more things together.



  • Things may be a lot cheaper if you buy them second-hand, but not any better.
  • A lot of British shops have an early closing day.



  • There are no cash-registers in British supermarkets and there is no delivery.
  • Your measurements are not needed when you buy an outsize suit in a store.



  • You often use trolleys for collecting the things you buy in a supermarket.
  • A marketplace is where you sell things illegally but not at very low prices.



  • A shopping centre is where you can buy all kinds of things at one place.
  • It can be a combination of supermarkets and various shops with a big car park.



  • Supermarkets are most convenient for people who like shopping rather fast.
  • Some people prefer small shops as they are not so impersonal as supermarkets.



  • You can buy groceries at the grocer's and herbs at the harpist's.
  • You may need a diary if you want to buy milk, cheese and butter.



  • A greengrocer sells all kinds of tins, herbs, sausages and other groceries.
  • You can buy milk, cheese, butter and other milk products at a dairy.



  • A butcher sells all kinds of vegetables and fruits in his vegetable shop.
  • The shop-assistant at a dairy is called a milkman.



  • Grocers' and other shops don't usually have home delivery service in Britain.
  • Washing powder and other chemicals can be bought at the confectioner's shop.



  • The chemist's shop is called drugstore in American English.
  • You can buy ready-made clothes and shirts at a fine confectioner's.



  • A confectioner sells all sorts of cakes, biscuits, sweets and chocolates.
  • Medicine, make-up and toilet articles are sold at the chemist's.



  • Supermarkets don't sell household goods and toilet articles.
  • The ticket that you get from the cashier at a supermarket is a 'shopping list'.



  • A lot of English shops give you stamps when you buy over a certain quantity.
  • Having a certain number of stamps you get some free goods from the shop.



  • You don't have to go shopping if you order your provisions by phone.
  • You won't meet a shop-assistant if you go to a big supermarket.



  • You can buy salt, pepper, cumin, tea, marjoram and coffee at the grocer's.
  • Somebody selling fish is called a fishmonger.



  • You don't usually buy chemicals at the tobacconist's.
  • The lift boy at a big department store is called a shop-lifter.



  • A shop-lifter steals things from shops while pretending to be a customer.
  • A shop-assistant can be called a salesgirl or salesman.



  • Most shops in London close for a short while (lunch break) at midday.
  • The prices of the same goods are the same in every British shop.


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