Everyday English – How to return clothes and talk about problems with clothes

Are you ever in a situation where you want to say something in English but you don’t have the right words and phrases? This series of conversations will help you to become more confident speaking in different real-life situations. Do the exercises and practise the conversation, then see if you feel more confident! Today’s conversation focuses on how to return clothes to a shop and it will give you some language for describing problems with clothes.


Exercise 1 – Read the conversation in my photo and answer the questions

  • Who is speaking in the conversation?
  • What does the customer want to return?
  • Is the item faulty?
  • Does the customer get a refund? Why/Why not?
  • Is the customer happy with the result of the conversation?

Exercise 2 – Look at the list of problems with clothes. Do you understand the meanings? Take a few moments to try and remember the vocabulary and then answer the questions

  • What is the opposite of tight?
  • What is the opposite of long?
  • What comes before enough and after too?  A verb, adjective or noun?
  • Complete these sentences: This t.shirt has got a __________ in it. It doesn’t f_________ / s_________ me.
  • Which phrasal verb means ‘return something’?

Exercise 3 – Find all the underlined words in the conversation. How do you pronounce them? If you are not sure, check the phonetic spelling in a dictionary or, to hear the audio, go to http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english and type the word you want to hear.     (jumper / suit / receipt / refund / exchange / choose)

Exercise 4 – Find a friend, flatmate or family member to practise the conversation with. One person is the sales assistant and one person is the customer. Keep going until you can do it without the photo 🙂 Extra challenge – When it’s perfect, swap roles or change the reason for the return to practise the other language. You can also try recording yourself on your mobile phone to hear your pronunciation!

cropped-speech-bubble.pngHow did it go? Feel free to write your answers to the exercises in the comment box or send me a message 🙂 Remember: Next time you have to return an item in an English-speaking country, or you are talking about clothes with your English-speaking friends, don’t forget to use everything you have just learned!

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Nicki is a Cambridge qualified, experienced English teacher for foreign learners. She loves helping English learners to learn real English and communicate with confidence!

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