Topic 127 Complaining in English 8 October 2021

Note: Complaints (and how you answer them) can be rude or gentle, or somewhere in between. How, when and where you complain makes a big difference. Individuals differ in how they compalain. Children, women & men often differ in how they complain. Cultures differ on how, when & to whom it is OK to complain (... this can even make problems between countries). So be alert to differences and adapt!


1. You are talking with a friend. How many complaints can you think of about Covid19? e.g. personal inconvenience; government actions; travel; employment chances; risks ... etc

2. Complain about the food in a restaurant. Complain to your dining partner first. Then complain to the restaurant manager. You will use different language in each case.

3. You have bought something on eBay. The product is faulty so you want a refund. After many emails, the seller offers you a 5% refund, then 10%, then 15%. You are fed up. Complain to eBay. [Thor - this has happened to me a couple of times!]

4. You bought an expensive travel package but when you arrive for your holiday, everything goes wrong. e.g. the weather is terrible; the hotel is terrible; your wallet is stolen .... and so on. You ring your friend in Australia and complain about what has happened.

5. Every time you achieve something at work, your (middle manager) boss takes the credit, and even finds fault with you. You are very demoralized and don't know what to do. You meet your friend in a coffee shop and complain about your situation. [Use your imagination !!]

6. You have some medical problem, or maybe a sports injury. The doctor you see doesn't really understand the problem [this is common!] and just prescribes a useless pill to make you go away. Explain the problem to a friend, and complain about the doctor. Maybe you could complain about most doctors ^_^ .

7. Complain about life in Adelaide, or in Australia generally.

8. Complain about the cost of living, or of something you want to buy. Give examples. [... this is just conversation practice! You don't have to be accurate]

9. Think of something you would like to complain about in your life at present. How would you express this complaint to different kinds of people [e.g. a friend, a partner, your boss, someone in authority, a kid, a social worker, a psychologist, someone you are having a drink with in a pub ... and so on]

10. The French have just lost a A$90 billion contract to build diesel-electric submarines in Adelaide. Instead the Australians will buy atomic powered submarines from US or UK. The French signed the contract in 2016. Imagine you are the French president, Macron. You are a proud man, the Australian politicians and officials didn't warn you, and you are facing a French election next year. Think of some strong complaints you might make about Australia.


Topic 127 Complaining in English ©Thor May 2021