Sunday, 25 March 2012

Shopping At The Chemist


This post deals with shopping in general, and more specifically with shopping for medicines.


Imagine you walk into a chemists. After exchanging customary greetings, the shop assistant decides to say to you something like: "can I help you/ how can I help you?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿Qué deseas?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿Que desea (usted)?


The question in Spanish is an invitation for you to say what you want/ what you are after. Answering that question should be quite straightforward and depends mainly on what you are looking for.

Maybe you are looking for:
  • A medicine to treat some ailment/ condition;
  • A type of medicine;
  • A form of medicine;
  • A first aid item;
  • A cream or potion

Here are some examples of how you could say what you want/ are looking for:
  • Quería algo para la gripe (I would like something for the flu);
  • Quería algo para un resfriado (I would like something for a cold);
  • Quería un alagésico en capsulas (I would like painkilling capsules);
  • Quería un antibiótico (I would like antibiotics);
  • Quería un jarabe para la tos (I would like a cough syrup/ bottle);
  • Quería unas pastillas para la tos (I would like some cough lozenges);
  • Quería aspirinas (I would like aspirins);
  • Quería paracetamol en cápsulas (I would like paracetamol capsules);
  • Quería unas pastillas de paracetamol (I would like some paracetamol tablets);
  • Quería una crema desinfectante (I would like an antiseptic cream);
  • Quería una crema hidratante (I would like a moisturising cream);
  • Quería unas “tiritas”* (I would like some plasters);
  • Quería un antihistamínico contra picaduras de insectos (I would like antihistamines/ anti-allergy for insect bites);

*NB “Apósitos adhesivos

Now you should practice answering the question:
¿Qué desea (usted)?

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