Shops – What Do All These Different Names Mean?

department store – a shop that sells many different items in different departments. Harrods is probably the world's best known department store.

supermarket – a large shop that sells mostly food and household items.

butcher – sells fresh meat.

baker – sells fresh bread and cakes.

fishmonger – sells fresh fish.

grocer (UK) / grocery store (US) – a shop that sells food.

greengrocer – sells fresh fruit and vegetables.

stationer – sells paper goods.

optician – sells glasses / contact lenses.

DIY store – sells things for home improvement. (DIY = do it yourself)

chemist (UK) / drugstore (US) – sells medicines and toiletries.

pharmacy (US) – sells medicines.

corner shop (UK) – a shop on the corner of your street, selling a range of basic goods – food, newspapers, sweets, bread, etc.

delicatessen (deli) – sells specialist food not normally found in supermarkets. For example, an Italian deli, an Asian deli.

bookshop / bookstore – books.

newsagent – sells newspapers and magazines.

hardware shop / hardware store / ironmonger – hard goods, such as nails and screws.

market – market traders (people who work on a market) have stalls that sell fruit and vegetables, clothes, household items and so on.

petshop – for pets and pet food.

flea market – a group of stalls selling old furniture or clothes.

tea shop (UK) – like a cafe, but sells tea and cakes.

petrol station (UK) / gas station (US) – sells petrol, car products and sometimes food.

Using 's

When we talk about different shops, we often add 's to the word. For example, "I'm going to the chemist's / greengrocer's / butcher's / baker's / newsagent's / fishmonger's / optician's." This happens because the chemist is the person but а chemist's is the place where they work, the butcher works at а butcher's, etc. The names of shops that come from the profession of the person that works in them are used with 's. For that reason we do not add 's after supermarket, hardware store, petrol station, department store.

Phrases related to shopping

- 26 December (Boxing Day) is the beginning of winter sales in the UK, when goods are sold at a great discount. Some items are reduced to 50% of the original price.
- An unbeatable offer / prices slashed (= cut) or give-away prices means really low prices.
- Clearance Sale / Everything must go!: these are signs which advertise sales
- snap up a bargain = to buy something at a very low price

Common questions asked by clients:

"Do you have any…?"
"I'm looking for…"
"I wonder if you could help me…?"
What the shopkeeper says

"I'm sorry, we're out of stock."
"I'm sorry, that's the last one."
"I'm sorry, that's all we have left."

Phrases often used by sellers:

"Can I help you?"
"Are you looking for anything in particular?"

Your reply:

"I'm just looking, thank you."
"I'm just browsing, thank you."

Some questions regarding products:

"Do you have this in another size?"
"Do you have this in another colour?"
"Is this made of leather / silk / plastic…?"
"Does this come with a guarantee?"
"Is this fully refundable?"
"Can I bring this back if it's not the right size?"
"Can I bring this back if it doesn't fit?"


"I'm sorry, I don't have any small change."
"I don't have anything smaller."
"Would you have change for this?"
"Can I have the receipt, please?'
"Can I pay by credit card?"
"Can I pay in cash?"
"Is this on sale?"


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