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How To


- Making a complaint


- Saying sorry


- Accepting an apology


- Pointing out the positive


- Making a complaint (informal)


- Expressing annoyance

Someone speaking to a shop assistant

Making a complaint


When was the last time that you had to make a complaint? Was it in a restaurant perhaps? Maybe the food hadn't been cooked properly! Or was it in a hotel or shop?

In this programme, we take a closer look at the language of complaining. When you have listened to the programme, don't forget to practise what you've learned with the activity at the bottom of this page.

Expressing shocked disagreement
But that's ridiculous!
It's unreasonable / unfair / ridiculous to charge me £10 for checking-in early!
An important request

Can I speak to the manager please?

A negative structure
It's just not fair to charge us for the starters!
Making what you say more forceful

Use absolutely with strong adjectives and really with weaker adjectives and verbs

That's absolutely ridiculous!

That's really unfair
I really think that's unfair

Signalling that you disagree

In a disagreement, well signals that you understand what someone is saying or asking you, but you have a different opinion or something unexpected to say. (If you say right or okay to show you understand, it can seem like you are agreeing with someone).

Well I don't think it's fair to make us pay extra for the airport shuttle
Well I have to say that the service was pretty slow, so I don't really feel like leaving a tip
Well, there was a cockroach in my room and the bathroom door doesn't lock!

In a disagreement, 'actually' shows that you have a different point of view from the person you are speaking to or something unexpected to say

Well, actually I don't think you should charge us for the starters
I think you should give us the starters for free, actually

Saying what you want someone to do
I'd like you to ... ...let me into my room
I think you should ...


Choose the one correct answer in the quiz below. Click 'next' to go to the next question.

download script If you don't have flash, you can download a printable version of this activity (24 KB)

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