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Ten of Those, Please - Transaction Phrases

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “Ten of Those, Please” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Transaction Phrases quiz”! If you hear a technical term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

When you are 'out and about' - shopping at a market, buying tickets and other purchases - you need to understand the right transaction phrases and expressions. Can you ask clearly for 'ten of those, please?'?

How are your transaction phrases? Are you ready for an efficient shopping trip?

  1. You are at the railway station, buying a ticket for a day-trip to London. The member of staff checks that you want a return ticket (probably: 'Off-peak return?') and then says: 'Travelcard with that?'.
    What is happening here?
    The Travelcard, added to your mainline rail ticket, allows you to go all around most of London for the rest of the day, without paying any extra or separately for doing so.
  2. You are shopping at the market and decide to buy some plums. You cannot reach the plums yourself, since they are too far back on the display; the stallholder will need to serve you.
    What do you say?
    You would ask in 'imperial units' (pounds [weight]) rather than metric; one pound = 454g, so it's within 10% of half a kilo.
    You would say 'those' (not 'these') because the plums are nearer to the stallholder than they are to you; and you would say 'please' at this stage, and then 'thank you' later, once you have been given the fruit.
  3. You are at a street market, buying 'loose' fruit to take with you on a picnic (bananas, apples, plums, oranges or similar): you ask for a pound [weight] of these fruit. The stallholder says, 'Half a doz. all right for you?'
    What does he mean?
    'Half a doz.' is a common short version for 'half a dozen' ( = 12 / 2 , = 6 )!
  4. You are ordering drinks in a pub. Which of these would be the most appropriate and accurate way to start?
    Answer 1 is too abrupt, and you haven't helped by saying which kind of beer you would like.
    Answer 3 is probably the 'next-best' to No.2, but 'I want ... ' is still a bit rude, even after 'Excuse me'. Answer 4 is not really the right way to do what you need, efficiently.
  5. At quite short notice, you manage to find a ticket for a theatre show that you were really hoping to watch while you are in Britain: this could be a 'classic musical' perhaps, or a Shakespeare play, or almost anything in between. You pay very cheaply for this (maybe £10) and when you receive the ticket, you see the phrase BALCONY:RESTRICTED VIEW printed on it.
    What does this mean?
    Answer 1 is right, though there is some truth in Answer 4.
    Answers 2 & 3 may be tempting, but probably aren't true!
  6. You go into a supermarket to buy a few small items. When you go to the checkout to pay, the member of staff asks you 'Do you have a loyalty card, at all?'.
    What does this mean?
    A 'loyalty card' is designed to make sure that customers use a shop regularly, so that both they and the shop can benefit (in terms of money) from a regular 'relationship'. Many of the main shops in Britain have schemes of this kind.
    If you happen to be in Britain for more than a few days, it might be worth your while to have such a card; but for a short stay, it makes no real sense.
  7. You have had a repair job done, and are about to pay; you are expecting the charge to be around £50. The man tells you 'That'll be forty-five quid plus VAT.' What is your best response?
    £45 + VAT (@ 20%) = £54, so if you were to offer him £50 this would be equivalent to suggesting / requesting a discount of 8% ~ which is hardly unreasonable with a price in this range, for the sake of agreeing on a 'round number'.
    If you just give him the £50 (Answer 1), he may count them and tell you this is not enough, or ask you if you don't understand the system ... or even accuse you of trying to cheat him.
    Answer 3 is fair enough, but will hold him up and waste a bit more of his time.
    Don't even think about starting on Answer 4!
  8. You are trying-on an item of clothing in a shop ~ a woollen outdoor cap, perhaps. The shop has caps on the shelf in the right size but the wrong colours, and the right colours but the wrong size. What do you say to the assistant?
    Of course, you are, effectively, asking a question ('Have you got a Size X in this colour, please?') ... but most of these first three Answers are rather rude, since they cast the enquiry in the negative ('haven't' ... ).
    A simple statement, as in Answer 4, is less of a direct challenge to the shopkeeper, but it clarifies what the problem is. There is the suggestion that you have tried to solve the problem for yourself, but that it would be a nice surprise if they (with their greater knowledge) could find what you wanted ... and everyone would be happy.
  9. Another situation where you reach the front of a queue in a busy shop ('What IS it with these Brits and their queueing?'). This time you pay using a credit or debit card, and the person on the till asks you 'Would you be wanting any cashback with that?'
    Frankly you would just rather pay and leave, get out of the shop and get on with your life; but the cashier is waiting for an answer. What's going on, and what do you do or say?
    Answer 2 may also have been sensible, depending on your circumstances and how careful you are about your money.
    Sadly, Answer 1 was completely wrong!
    If you go with Answer 4, you may find out how the system works ... but some of the people behind you in the queue may grow impatient at having to wait.
  10. You have recently arrived in Britain and go into a shop to buy one important, but small and cheap item. At this stage you only have quite large British banknotes to pay for it. What do you say to the shopkeeper?
    The circumstances are probably fairly obvious, so Answer 2 would probably 'do'; but if you can manage Answer 3, that would be clearer.
    Answer 1 is barely polite (despite the 'please') and, depending slightly on how you say it, Answer 4 isn't really quite right either.

Author: Ian Miles

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