Lesson 3: Shopping

French Vocabulary • Shopping
Shopping Les achats
To Go Shopping Buying Goods
faire des courses
faire du shopping
to go shopping le(la) vendeur(euse)
le(la) cassier(-ière)
faire le marché to go grocery shopping (plus/moins) cher(ère) (more/less) expensive
faire du lèche-vitrine to go window shopping la vitrine display window
porter to wear, to carry en solde on sale
demander to ask (for) le prix price
demander le prix – to ask for the price
payer à la caisse
to pay
to pay at the counter
la caisse cash register
checkout counter
vendre to sell coûter to cost
acheter to buy C’est combien?
Ça coûte combien?
How much is it?
[lit: It’s how much?]
[lit:It costs how much?]
Combien coûte [nom]? How much does [noun] cost?
[lit: How much costs [noun]?]
General Goods Stores Foods Stores
le magasin shop; store le supermarché supermarket
le centre commercial mall; shopping centre l’hypermarché (m) hypermarket; big supermarket
le grand magasin department store la boucherie butcher shop 1
le rayon department la boulangerie bakery 2
la boutique small store le dépôt de pain a place that sells bread 2
la pharmacie pharmacy; chemist la charcuterie delicatessen 3
le marché outdoor market la crémerie dairy store
la pâtisserie pastry shop; pâtisserie
la poissonnerie seafood store; fishmonger
l’épicerie (f) grocery 4
  1. French butchers do not sell pork, pork products, nor horsemeat. For these products, go to a charcuterie. However, a lot of boucheries are also charcuteries, and are called boucherie-charcuterie
  2. In France, bakeries only sell fresh bread; e.g. the bread is baked on site. Places where they sell bread that is not fresh are called dépôt de pain.
  3. Charcuteries’ sell things besides pork products, including pâté, salami, cold meats, salads, quiches and pizzas.
  4. An alternative to an ‘épicerie’ is an alimentation générale (a general foodstore).

Object Pronouns Review

Direct Objects

While the subject of a sentence initiates an action (the verb), the direct object is the one that is affected by the action. A direct object pronoun is used to refer to the direct object of a previous sentence:

Pierre voit le cambrioleur. Pierre sees the burglar.
Pierre le voit. Pierre sees him.

The following table shows the various types of direct object pronouns:

French me, m’ te, t’ le, l’ la, l’ nous vous les
English me1 you1 him, it her, it us1 you1 them


  • 1 me, te, nous, and vous are also used as indirect objects to mean to me, to you, to us, and to you respectively.
  • The pronoun form with an apostrophe is used before a vowel.
  • The direct object pronoun for nous and vous is the same as the subject.
  • When the direct object comes before a verb in a perfect tense, a tense that uses a past participle, the direct object must agree in gender and plurality with the past participle. For example, in the phrase Je les ai eus, or I had them, the past participle would be spelled eus if the direct object, les, was referring to a masculine object, and eues if les is referring to a feminine object.

Indirect Objects

An indirect object is an object that would be asked for with To whom…? or From whom…?. It is called indirect because it occurs usually together with a direct object which is affected directly by the action:

Il donne du pain à Pierre. He gives some bread to Pierre.
Il lui donne du pain. He gives bread to him.

The following table shows the various types of indirect object pronouns:

French me, m’ te, t’ lui nous vous leur
English to me1 to you1 to him, to her to us1 to you1 to them


  • 1 me, te, nous, and vous are also used as direct objects to mean me, you, us, and you respectively.
  • The pronoun form with an apostrophe is used before a vowel.
  • The indirect object pronoun for nous and vous is the same as the subject.
  • The indirect object pronouns do not agree with the past participle like the direct object pronouns do. When me, te, nous, and vous are used in a perfect tense, the writer must decide whether they are used as direct or indirect object pronouns. This is done by looking at the verb and seeing what type of action is being performed.

The bread is given by the man (direct). Pierre gets the given bread (indirect).

-exer Verbs

-exer are regular -er verbs, but also are stem changing. The stem change applies to all forms except nous and vous. The stem change involves adding a grave accent ( ` ) over the e in the stem.


French Verb • Present Indicative
acheter to buy
(past participle – acheté)
Singular Plural
first person j’achète jzah shet I buy nouszachetons noozashtoh we buy
second person tu achètes too ahshet you buy vouszachetez voozahshtay you buy
third person il achète eel ahshet he buys ilszachètent eelzahshet they buy
(masc. or mixed)
elle achète ell ahshet she buys
onnachète ohnahshet one buys elleszachètent ellzahshet they buy (fem.)

Other -exer Verbs

  • peser – to weigh
  • mener – to carry out
  • emmener – to take along
  • amener – to bring
  • surmener – to overwork
  • lever – to raise
  • soulever – to raise


French Vocabulary • Shopping
Clothing Habillement
les vêtements habillés – dress clothes les vêtements sport – casual clothes les chaussures – shoes
la chemise button down shirt la casquette cap les chaussures shoes
la cravate tie le tee-shirt t-shirt la paire de chaussures pair of shoes
le pantalon pants le polo polo shirt les baskets basketball shoes
le complet
le costume
suit le pull(over) a sweater les tennis tennis shoes
le manteau coat le sweat-shirt sweatshirt les sandales sandals
le tailleur women’s suit le blouson
la veste
la robe dress le jean jeans
le chemisier blouse les chaussettes / les bas socks
la jupe skirt

-yer verbs

-yer verbs are irregular -er verbs. When y is part of the last syllable, it changes to i in order to keep the ay sound. In the present indicative of -yer verbs, this affects all forms except nous and vous.


The verb payer translates to to pay.


In the present indicative, payer (and all other -yer verbs) is conjuagted as follows:

French Verb • Present Indicative
payer to pay
(past participle – payé)
Singular Plural
first person je paie jeuh pay I pay nous payons noo pay oh we pay
second person tu paies too pay you pay vous payez voo pay yay you pay
third person il paie eel pay he pays ils paient
ou payent
eel they pay
(masc. or mixed)
elle paie ell pay she pays
on paie oh pay one pays elles paient
ou payent
ell they pay (fem.)

Other -yer Verbs

  • appuyer – to support
  • employer – to employ
  • essayer – to try
  • essuyer – to wipe
  • nettoyer – to clean
  • tutoyer – to address as tu, to call someone informally

Irregular Past Participles

Many of the verbs you have learned so far have irregular past participles.

  • avoir – eu
  • croire – cru
  • être – été
  • faire – fait
  • voir – vu

Practise Conversations

Let’s practise some of these words and verbs in some everyday shopping talk:
1. À la boulangerie (At the bakery)
Bernard (le boulanger) : Bonjour madame
Camille (la cliente) : Bonjour monsieur
Bernard : Que voulez-vous ?
Camille : Je voudrais acheter une baguette, s’il vous plaît
Bernard : Ce sera tout ?
Camille : Non, je voudrais deux croissants aussi
Bernard : Très bien – ça fait deux euros, s’il vous plaît
Camille : Merci beaucoup
Useful vocabulary:
“Que voulez-vous ?” or “Que désirez-vous ?” – What would you like?
“Je voudrais…” – I would like…
“Ce sera tout ?” – Is that all?
“Ça fait deux euros” – That will be two euros
acheter (to buy).
2. Au marché (At the market)
Marie (la marchande) : Bonjour monsieur
Clément (le client) : Bonjour madame
Clément : Qu’est-ce que vous avez à vendre ?
Marie : J’ai un grand choix de fruits et légumes
Clément : Très bien. Est-ce que vous avez des cerises ?
Marie : Oui… elles coûtent deux euros le kilo
Clément : Bon, je voudrais trois kilos, s’il vous plaît
Marie : Très bien, monsieur. Alors, pour trois kilos il faut payer six euros, s’il vous plaît.
Useful vocabulary:
“Qu’est-ce que vous avez… ?” – What do you have?
“Un grand choix” – A large range
“Des cerises” – Some cherries
“Elles coûtent deux euros le kilo” – They (feminine) cost two euros per kilo
“Il faut” – One must/You need to
vendre (to sell) and payer (to pay).