Learning to speak English? Our Everyday Conversations help you practice. Click the audio link to hear a native speaker pronounce each word while you read. Key terms are explained, in your language, at the end of each conversation. Today’s conversation is about going to a supermarket.

Louise: Hey, Julia…Look at those desserts! How about baking some cookies today?

Julia: Hmm…Yeah, that’s a great idea! While we’re here, let’s pick up the ingredients.

Louise: OK, what do we need?

Julia: The recipe calls for flour, sugar and butter. Oh, and we also need eggs and chocolate chips.

Louise: Why don’t you get the dairy ingredients? You’ll find those in the refrigerated section in the back of the store. I’ll get the dry ingredients — they’re in aisle 10.

Julia: Great! Let’s meet at the checkout.

Louise: OK. See you there.

Language notes

  • How about is a casual way to suggest doing an activity. Notice that “how about” is followed by an “-ing” verb.
  • Hmm…: Notice that Julia pauses for a moment. “Hmm” is an expression used to think about something first before speaking.
  • That’s a great idea! Notice the emphasis on “great.” Julia has thought about it and then decided that she really does want to bake cookies.
  • The recipe calls for is a way of saying “the recipe says we need.” The phrase “call for” can also be used to talk about the weather forecast. (“They’re calling for rain.”)
  • …flour, sugar and butter. Notice that this is a list, so there are short pauses between each item. Notice also that each ingredient is stressed because this information is important.
  • Why don’t you: This expression is used to ask someone to do something. It can also be used to give advice — but in this case two friends are deciding on who does which task.
  • Aisle: Notice the silent “s” in “aisle.” An aisle is an orderly lane in a supermarket, with shelved products on both sides. Each aisle has a number, so that it is easy to find what you need.
Ready to learn more English? Our materials can help. And the U.S. Department of State has great resources for English teachers and students of all levels.