Expressing complaints

Introductory notes for expressing complaints

Complaints are statements of dissatisfaction and displeasure in reaction to misconduct or unacceptable behavior from someone. So what are the appropriate ways of expressing complaints in English?

To do this in an appropriate way, you have to explain the problem in a clear and polite way using respectful language. In some cases, you may need to say how you feel about the problem, although this is not necessary because you have already explained it at the beginning.

Sometimes, you may need to move to the second step and ask your listener to fix the problem, especially if you see that he won’t take action.

Expressions of complaints

Here are some phrases and statements that we use mostly in expressing complaints.

  1. I am sorry to say it, but you …………. .
  2. Enough is enough.
  3. I have been patient long enough, but …………… .
  4. I am afraid. I have to make a serious complaint.
  5. Sorry to trouble you, but ………. .
  6. Excuse me. There seems to be something wrong with …………. .
  7. I have got a bit of a problem here. You see, you …………….. .
  8. Sorry to have to say that ……………. .


Use the expressions stated above to express complaints about these problems

  1. Your friend, Joe, took your book but didn’t bring it back.
  2. Your neighbor’s children broke one of your house’s windows.
  3. Your classmate stepped on your toes.
  4. A friend of yours always phones you at night.
  5. One of your employees doesn’t do his job well.
  6. Your wife never prepares breakfast for you before you go to work.
  7. You don’t understand your English teacher’s pronunciation because he speaks so fast.
  8. The maths teacher treats your son badly.
  9. The doctor gave you medicines which increased your sufferings.
  10. Some of you neighbors are so noisy, especially at night.

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