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ESL Guide to Daily Shopping in Vancouver

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

ESL Guide to Daily Shopping in Canada

Welcome to Canada! Shopping for daily essentials is an important part of everyday life. In this guide, we will help you navigate the shopping scene in a city in Canada and provide you with common words and pronunciations to make your shopping experience easier.

Common Words and Pronunciations:

1. Grocery Store - Pronunciation: groh-suh-ree stohr

  • In Canada, you'll find various grocery store chains such as Safeway, Save-On-Foods, and Superstore.

2. Shopping Cart - Pronunciation: shah-ping kart

  • The wheeled basket you use to carry your groceries in the store.

3. Shopping List - Pronunciation: shah-ping list

  • A list of items you need to buy. You can write it on paper or keep it on your phone.

4. Checkout - Pronunciation: chek-out

  • The area where you pay for your items at the store.

5. Cashier - Pronunciation: kash-ee-er

  • The person who scans and bags your items at the checkout.

6. Cash - Pronunciation: kash

  • Physical money that you can use to pay for your purchases.

7. Credit Card - Pronunciation: kred-it kard

  • A plastic card that you can use to pay for items. Common cards in Canada include Visa and MasterCard.

8. Debit Card - Pronunciation: dee-bit kard

  • A card that allows you to pay for items directly from your bank account. Interac is a popular debit card system in Canada.

9. Sales Tax - Pronunciation: saylz taks

  • In Vancouver, there is a Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) added to most items you purchase.

10. Reusable Bags - Pronunciation: ree-yoo-zuh-buhl bags

  • Many stores encourage the use of reusable bags instead of plastic bags for environmental reasons.

Grocery Shopping Tips:

  1. Bring Your Own Bags: It's common all over to bring your reusable bags when you shop. Say "No, thank you" if the cashier offers you plastic bags.

  2. Understand Pricing: Prices are typically listed in Canadian dollars. Be aware of the sales tax, which varies depending on the item. Look for the final price when shopping.

  3. Checkout Etiquette: Wait in line at the checkout counter, and be ready to pay with cash or your card. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted.

  4. Sales and Discounts: Keep an eye out for "sales" or "specials" – these are items on discount. You might need a store loyalty card to get some discounts.

  5. Fruits and Vegetables: When selecting produce, use plastic bags provided in the store to weigh and label your items. The label contains a barcode for easy scanning at checkout.

  6. Ask for Help: Don't hesitate to ask store employees for assistance if you can't find something. They are usually very helpful.

Sample Shopping Dialogue:

Customer: Excuse me, where can I find the dairy products?

Store Employee: Dairy products are in aisle 3, right next to the eggs and yogurt.

Customer: Thank you!

Cashier: Did you find everything you needed?

Customer: Yes, thanks. Can I pay with my credit card?

Cashier: Of course, please insert your card into the machine.

Customer: Here you go.

Cashier: Your total is $35.68, including tax.

Customer: Great, here's my card.

Cashier: Thank you. Please sign on the screen.

Customer: Done!

Cashier: Here's your receipt. Have a nice day!

Remember that shopping in Vancouver is a great way to explore the city and experience Canadian culture. Don't be afraid to ask for help or clarification if needed. Enjoy your shopping experience!



  1. Poppyseed - Pronunciation: pop-ee-seed

  2. Pizza - Pronunciation: peet-suh

  3. Spaghetti - Pronunciation: spuh-get-ee

  4. Hamburger - Pronunciation: ham-bur-gur

  5. Sushi - Pronunciation: soo-shee

  6. Burrito - Pronunciation: buh-ree-toh

  7. Taco - Pronunciation: tah-koh

  8. Sandwich - Pronunciation: san-wich


  1. Banana - Pronunciation: buh-nan-uh

  2. Strawberry - Pronunciation: straw-ber-ee

  3. Pineapple - Pronunciation: pine-ap-uhl

  4. Blueberry - Pronunciation: bloo-ber-ee

  5. Mango - Pronunciation: mang-goh

  6. Grapes - Pronunciation: grayps

  7. Watermelon - Pronunciation: wah-ter-mel-uhn

  8. Peach - Pronunciation:peech


  1. Tomato - Pronunciation: tuh-may-toh

  2. Broccoli - Pronunciation: brok-uh-lee

  3. Carrot - Pronunciation: kar-uht

  4. Cucumber - Pronunciation: koo-kum-ber

  5. Spinach - Pronunciation: spi-nij

  6. Bell Pepper - Pronunciation: bel pep-er

  7. Potato - Pronunciation: puh-tey-toh

  8. Zucchini - Pronunciation: zuh-kee-nee

Baked Goods:

Baked goods are a category of food items that are prepared by baking dough or batter in an oven. They encompass a wide variety of sweet and savory items, ranging from bread and pastries to cakes and cookies. Baked goods are typically made from ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, butter or oil, and leavening agents like yeast or baking powder. Here are some common types of baked goods: 1. Bread: Bread is one of the most fundamental baked goods. It includes varieties such as white bread, whole wheat bread, baguettes, sourdough, and more. 2. Pastries: Pastries are flaky and often buttery baked goods. Examples include croissants, Danish pastries, and puff pastry creations. 3. Cakes: Cakes are sweet, spongy, or layered desserts, often topped with frosting. They come in various flavors and sizes, including chocolate cake, carrot cake, and cheesecake. 4. Muffins: Muffins are small, individual-sized baked goods, typically sweet but sometimes savory. Common types include blueberry muffins and bran muffins. 5. Cookies: Cookies are small, sweet, and often crispy baked treats. Varieties include chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, and gingerbread cookies. 6. Pies: Pies consist of a pastry crust filled with sweet or savory fillings. Popular examples are apple pie, pecan pie, and quiche. 7. Biscuits: Biscuits are soft, flaky bread products, known for their versatility. They can be served with butter, gravy, or used in dishes like biscuits and gravy. 8. Brownies: Brownies are dense, fudgy or cakey chocolate squares, often with nuts or chocolate chips. 9. Tarts: Tarts are similar to pies but typically smaller and have a shallower crust. They can be filled with fruit, custard, or savory ingredients. 10. Cupcakes: Cupcakes are small, individual cakes, often decorated with frosting and toppings. 11. Scones: Scones are slightly sweet or savory baked goods, often enjoyed with tea. Common flavors include plain, blueberry, and cheddar. 12. Bagels: Bagels are round, dense bread rolls with a hole in the center, often boiled before baking. They're commonly eaten with cream cheese or used for sandwiches. Baked goods are an integral part of many cuisines worldwide, and they can be found in bakeries, cafes, and homes. The type of baked goods and their ingredients can vary greatly depending on cultural preferences and regional traditions.

Ordering Coffee Scripts:

Script 1: Ordering at a Café

Customer: Hi, I'd like to order a coffee, please.

Barista: Sure, what size would you like? We have small, medium, and large.

Customer: I'll have a medium, please.

Barista: Great! Would you like that hot or iced?

Customer: Hot, please.

Barista: Alright, and would you like it black or with cream and sugar?

Customer: I'll take it with cream and sugar.

Barista: Got it. Anything else?

Customer: No, that's it, thanks.

Barista: Okay, that's one medium hot coffee with cream and sugar. Your total is $3.50. Please proceed to the cashier.

Script 2: Ordering at a Drive-Thru

Customer: Hello, I'd like to order a coffee, please.

Drive-Thru Attendant: Of course! What size would you like?

Customer: I'll go with a small.

Drive-Thru Attendant: Small coffee. Would you like any flavoring or cream and sugar in that?

Customer: No, just black, please.

Drive-Thru Attendant: One small black coffee. Anything else for you today?

Customer: Yes, I'll also have a blueberry muffin, please.

Drive-Thru Attendant: Certainly, one blueberry muffin. Your total is $5.75. Please drive up to the window to pay and pick up your order.

These scripts should help you when ordering coffee at a café or a drive-thru in Canada or any English-speaking country. You can modify the details as per your preferences or any additional items you'd like to order.

Ordering Meat & Baked Goods

Ordering Meat Script 1: At a Butcher Shop

Customer: Good morning! I'd like to order some meat, please.

Butcher: Of course! What type of meat are you looking for today?

Customer: I need some chicken breasts and a pound of ground beef.

Butcher: Great choice! How would you like the chicken breasts prepared? Skin-on or skinless?

Customer: Skinless, please.

Butcher: And for the ground beef, do you prefer lean or regular?

Customer: I'll go with lean, please.

Butcher: Wonderful. Anything else you need?

Customer: That's it, thank you!

Butcher: Alright, I have skinless chicken breasts and a pound of lean ground beef. Your total is $15.50. Please proceed to the cashier to complete your purchase.

Ordering Meat Script 2: At a Restaurant

Customer: Hello! I'd like to order a meat dish, please.

Server: Certainly! We have several meat options on the menu. What are you in the mood for?

Customer: I'd like the steak, please. Medium rare.

Server: Excellent choice! Our steak comes with a choice of side dish. What would you like as a side?

Customer: I'll have the garlic mashed potatoes, please.

Server: Perfect. Would you like any sauce or seasoning on your steak?

Customer: Just a bit of garlic butter on the steak, please.

Server: Noted. One medium-rare steak with garlic mashed potatoes and garlic butter. Anything else for you?

Customer: That's all, thank you!

Server: Your steak will be out shortly. Enjoy your meal!

Ordering Baked Goods Script 1: At a Bakery

Customer: Hi there! I'd like to order some baked goods for a special occasion.

Baker: Of course! What kind of baked goods are you interested in?

Customer: I need a dozen assorted pastries—croissants, Danishes, and muffins.

Baker: Great choice! Would you like any specific flavors or fillings for the pastries?

Customer: Surprise me with a mix of flavors. And can you include some chocolate-filled ones too?

Baker: Certainly! We'll make a delicious assortment for you. When do you need them?

Customer: I'll pick them up on Saturday morning.

Baker: Perfect. Your assorted pastries will be ready for pickup on Saturday. See you then!

Ordering Baked Goods Script 2: At a Café

Customer: Hello! I'd like to order some baked goods, please.

Café Staff: Of course! What can I get for you today?

Customer: I'll have a slice of your cheesecake and two chocolate chip cookies, please.

Café Staff: Excellent choices! Would you like those to go, or would you like to enjoy them here?

Customer: I'll enjoy them here, and can I get a cappuccino too?

Café Staff: Absolutely! One slice of cheesecake, two chocolate chip cookies, and a cappuccino. Please have a seat, and we'll bring your order to your table shortly.

Customer: Thank you very much!


  1. What is your favorite food, and why do you like it so much?

  2. Do you prefer cooking at home or eating out at restaurants? Why?

  3. Are there any foods you dislike or refuse to eat? Why don't you like them?

  4. Do you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies? How do they affect your food choices?

  5. What's a traditional dish from your country that you enjoy? Can you describe it?

More Discussion:

  1. Do you think it's important to have a balanced diet? Why or why not?

  2. What's your go-to comfort food when you're feeling down or stressed?

  3. Are there any foods you used to dislike but have grown to enjoy over time?

  4. Do you usually eat breakfast? If so, what's a typical breakfast for you?

  5. How do you feel about trying new foods from different cultures?

  6. Do you think it's important for children to learn how to cook? Why or why not?

  7. What's your favorite type of cuisine (e.g., Italian, Mexican, Chinese), and what dishes do you like from that cuisine?

  8. Do you have a favorite dessert? If so, what is it, and when do you like to have it?

  9. Do you prefer spicy foods, mild foods, or somewhere in between?

  10. If you could have any food delivered to your doorstep right now, what would you choose?

More Discussion:

  1. What's your opinion on fast food? Do you eat it often, or do you try to avoid it?

  2. Have you ever tried a food from another country that you couldn't find in your own? What was it, and did you like it?

  3. Are there any foods you think are overrated or too popular? Why do you feel that way?

  4. Do you enjoy family meals or dining with friends? What makes these gatherings special for you?

  5. If you were to host a dinner party, what dishes would you serve to impress your guests?

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