Friday, 16 March 2012

Shopping For Groceries


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


Imagine you walk into a corner shop or convenience store. After exchanging customary greetings, the shop assistant says 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. In this case, besides naming the right grocery, you need to pay some attention to specifying the quantity.

Maybe you want:
  • Groceries sold by unit;
  • Groceries sold by weight;
  • Groceries sold by volume;
  • Something sold by the bottle;
  • Something sold by the packet;
  • Something sold by the box;
  • Something sold by the tin;
  • Something sold by the jar;

Here are some examples of answers:
  • Quería una barra de pan (I would like a baguette/ loaf of bread).
  • Quería un melón (I would like a melon).
  • Quería una lechuga (I would like a lettuce).
  • Quería un kilo de tomates (I would like a kilo of tomatoes).
  • Quería medio kilo de fresas (I would like a half kilo of strawberries.
  • Quería doscientos gramos de jamón (I would like 200 grams of ham).
  • Quería un litro de aceite de oliva (I would like a litre of olive oil).
  • Quería medio litro de leche (I would like half a litre of milk).
  • Quería una botella de vino (I would like a bottle of wine).
  • Quería un paquete de galletas (I would like a packet of biscuits).
  • Quería una lata de bonito (I would like a tin of tuna).
  • Quería un tarro de mermelada (I would like a jar of marmalade).

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

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