Lesson 3: Shopping

French Vocabulary • Shopping
Shopping Les achats
To Go ShoppingBuying Goods
faire des courses
faire du shopping
to go shoppingle(la) vendeur(euse)
le(la) cassier(-ière)
faire le marchéto go grocery shopping(plus/moins) cher(ère)(more/less) expensive
faire du lèche-vitrineto go window shoppingla vitrinedisplay window
porterto wear, to carryen soldeon sale
demanderto ask (for)le prixprice
demander le prix – to ask for the price
payer à la caisse
to pay
to pay at the counter
la caissecash register
checkout counter
vendreto sellcoûterto cost
acheterto buyC’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 StoresFoods Stores
le magasinshop; storele supermarchésupermarket
le centre commercialmall; shopping centrel’hypermarché (m)hypermarket; big supermarket
le grand magasindepartment storela boucheriebutcher shop 1
le rayondepartmentla boulangeriebakery 2
la boutiquesmall storele dépôt de paina place that sells bread 2
la pharmaciepharmacy; chemistla charcuteriedelicatessen 3
le marchéoutdoor marketla crémeriedairy store
la pâtisseriepastry shop; pâtisserie
la poissonnerieseafood 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:

Frenchme, m’te, t’le, l’la, l’nousvousles
Englishme1you1him, ither, itus1you1them


  • 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:

Frenchme, m’te, t’luinousvousleur
Englishto me1to you1to him, to herto us1to you1to 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)
first personj’achètejzah shetI buynouszachetonsnoozashtohwe buy
second persontu achètestoo ahshetyou buyvouszachetezvoozahshtayyou buy
third personil achèteeel ahshethe buysilszachètenteelzahshetthey buy
(masc. or mixed)
elle achèteell ahshetshe buys
onnachèteohnahshetone buyselleszachètentellzahshetthey 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 clothesles vêtements sport – casual clothesles chaussures – shoes
la chemisebutton down shirtla casquettecaples chaussuresshoes
la cravatetiele tee-shirtt-shirtla paire de chaussurespair of shoes
le pantalonpantsle polopolo shirtles basketsbasketball shoes
le complet
le costume
suitle pull(over)a sweaterles tennistennis shoes
le manteaucoatle sweat-shirtsweatshirtles sandalessandals
le tailleurwomen’s suitle blouson
la veste
la robedressle jeanjeans
le chemisierblouseles chaussettes / les bassocks
la jupeskirt

-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)
first personje paiejeuh payI paynous payonsnoo pay ohwe pay
second persontu paiestoo payyou payvous payezvoo pay yayyou pay
third personil paieeel payhe paysils paient
ou payent
eelthey pay
(masc. or mixed)
elle paieell payshe pays
on paieoh payone payselles paient
ou payent
ellthey 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).

Share via
Copy link