Know Your Onions at the Supermarket


One of the best ways to learn vocabulary is by experience, and I never recommend translating vocabulary between your first and second languages. To learn more everyday vocabulary, use supermarkets.

Why is the supermarket such an effective place to learn English?

The supermarket is where you buy food and other everyday household items. You can see the names of things on the labels, that is, if you are in an English-speaking country.

What about people who are not in English-speaking countries?

You already have internet access. You can use supermarket websites. I also recommend using Pinterest to record your food vocabulary that you save.

Two British supermarket websites

Tesco and Asda are used by mainly working-class and middle-class people.
Sainsbury’s is used by mainly middle-class people. is used by middle-class and posh people.

I’m using the Waitrose website on here just because I like the pictures better.

  1. Find a supermarket item you don’t know the name of.
  2. I chose this artichoke because most people where I am from have never eaten artichokes.

    A screenshot from the website.

  3. Right click on the picture and copy the URL (link).
  4. Save it in your vocabulary folder or Pinterest.
  5. Review your vocabulary or write your shopping list in English.

Remember that supermarkets also often sell toiletries (drugstore items), cleaning goods and even clothes so they are an excellent resource for learning vocabulary visually.

By the way, ‘know your onions’ means to have a detailed knowledge!