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How To


- Asking permission


- Informal invitations


- Polite invitations


- Declining invitations


- Making an appointment


- Change someone's behaviour


- Asking someone out


- Asking a favour


- Haggling


- Borrowing something


- Asking for the time
A woman buying butter


If you argue with someone in a shop or market over the price of something, we call this haggling. Although it isn't the custom in the UK to haggle every time we shop, it is something we do for very cheap things... or very expensive things.

Don't forget to practise what you've learned with the listening activity further down this page.

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Phrases for customers
I'll give you £10 for it.
both books.
the lot.  [= everything on sale here]

...and you've got a deal!
This is a very confident way of making an offer. You might use this if you have already been haggling for a while and have almost fixed a price, e.g.:

Salesperson: How about £42?
Customer: 40 and you've got a deal!

For more expensive items:
Could you give me some sort of discount?
I was wondering if you could do me a better deal on that?

Phrases for customers and salespeople
Shall we say £50?
Let's say fifty, shall we?
Let's make it a round fifty, shall we?  
[a round number is one that ends in one or more zeros, e.g. 50, 100, 1000]
Phrases for salespeople

(I'll) tell you what (I can do for you)...
Use this before you make an offer, e.g.:

Tell you what - how about I give you the computer and a printer for 450? does that sound?
Use this after you make an offer, e.g.:

Free delivery and an extended warranty - how does that sound?

I'll give you

two for £5 ... how does that sound?
You can have a 10% discount

...and you could take it home today.

Use phrases like this to encourage the buyer to accept your deal, e.g.:

Let's say £500, and you can walk out the shop with a beautiful watch right now.

Say that you cannot offer a lower discount:
That's the best I can do for you, I'm afraid.
A 10% discount - that's all I can do, I'm afraid.
And that's pretty much the maximum discount I could offer.

Other phrases

to throw something in
to get something extra for the same price, e.g.:

Is there any chance you could throw in a bigger monitor for that price?

to knock some money off
to reduce the price by a certain amount, e.g.:

I can knock fifty pounds off that - that makes it 230.

price match
To equal the price that a customer has seen in another shop on the same item, e.g.:

We can do a price match, if you've seen it cheaper elsewhere.    or
We should be able to match the price for you, if you tell me where you've seen it for less.


Listening activity
Listen to the audio clip below of a woman haggling over the price of a new computer. Try to answer the following questions. You may need to listen more than once!

  1. What is the price of the computer?
  2. What does the salesman offer to do? (he makes three suggestions)
  3. How much does the customer pay?
Check your answers by clicking on the link to the script, below.

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