Talking about grocery shopping in English (AUDIO reading, dialogue, and practice questions included)
Recommended level: Beginner / Low intermediate
How often do you go grocery shopping? What do you usually buy? How much money do you usually spend on groceries? Keep reading (or listening) to learn how to talk about shopping for groceries.
Let's start with a dialogue.
Mark: I'm going to the grocery store to pick up some snacks for the party. What else do we need?
Diana: Well, we ran out of milk this morning, and we're almost out of bread.
Mark: Okay, I'll pick some up. Anything else?
Diana: Yeah, could you also get some apples and bananas?
Mark: No problem. Oh, and I think we're almost out of jam.
Diana: What? We still have lots of ham.
Mark: Not ham. Jam!
Diana: Oh. Sorry. I guess I didn't hear you.
Mark: No worries. See you in an hour.
Now, let's take a closer look at some of the vocabulary in this dialogue.
First of all, the verb "go" is very important when we talk about grocery shopping. Note these examples and the highlighted words:
"I'm going to the grocery store."
"I'm going grocery shopping."
In English, you go to a place. You can also go shopping. Here are some other possible sentences you might hear with these phrases:
"I went shopping for groceries this morning."
"I need to go to the store."
"We're going grocery shopping later."
"I'm going to the market. Do you want me to get anything for you?"
The first example above has an important word: groceries. Groceries are the foods and beverages you buy from a grocery store or a market. In English, you can buy groceries, get groceries, do groceries, or pick up groceries. Yes, you can go to the grocery store to do groceries. You can also say the groceries with the phrases above to make your meaning more specific. Note the examples below:
"I did the groceries this morning." (You can also say "I did groceries this morning" to speak in a more general sense.)
"Where do you normally buy your groceries?"
"Could you get the groceries today?" (Meaning, I want you to get them, probably because I'm usually the one who buys them.)
"I'll be home soon. I just need to pick up some groceries first."
If you pick something up, you buy it or acquire it. If you use "pick up" in the context of grocery shopping, you can be specific. For instance, you can say "I need to pick up some spinach," or "Could you pick some milk up from the store?" Notice that you can separate "pick up." This means it's possible to say "I want to pick up something for dinner" and "I want to pick something up for dinner."
Finally, why do we need to go grocery shopping in the first place? Because we have no more of something in our kitchen! Let's look at some common sentences and ways to talk about what we have or don't have in our kitchen:
"We need more bread." (Meaning, we don't have any bread.)
"We're out of oranges." (Meaning, we have no oranges.)
"We're almost out of potatoes." (Meaning, we still have some potatoes, but they're almost finished.)
"We ran out of juice." (Meaning, we used all of the juice and have none now.)
"We're running out of cream cheese." (This is similar to saying "We're almost out of cream cheese," but in this case, the focus is on the process of eating the cheese and having almost no more cheese as a result.)
This is a lot of information, but don't worry: I will help you to practice it. Look at the questions and the sample answers below. Write your answers in the comments, and make sure to read them out loud to practice your speaking.
Who normally does the groceries in your house?
Sample answer: My mom normally does the groceries.
Are you almost out of something in your kitchen?
Sample answer: I'm almost out of ketchup.
What is something you are completely out of?
Sample answer: I'm completely out of eggs.
When was the last time you went to the grocery store?
Sample answer: The last time I went to the grocery store was two days ago.
What did you pick up the last time you went grocery shopping?
Sample answer: The last time I went grocery shopping, I picked up fruit, meat, and vegetables.
How much money do you spend on groceries per week?
Sample answer: I spend around $200 (two-hundred dollars) on groceries per week.
How often do you go grocery shopping?
Sample answer: I go grocery shopping about once per week.
What do you run out of quickly at your house?
Sample answer: We run out of milk quickly.
That's it for this lesson. I hope you feel more comfortable and confident talking about grocery shopping in English. Remember to write your answers in the comments.
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