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Ways to Complain in English

Published by My Lingua Academy on

How many times have you complained about your food or drinks in a restaurant, a hotel, maybe even a travel agency or at work? I’m sure you know how to complain in your native language. But, do you know how to complain in English? In case you’re not quite sure, here are some useful and effective ways to complain in English.


First of all, if you want to be polite and well-mannered, you should never complain directly. Always use introductory sentences such as “pardon me“, “excuse me“, “sorry to bother you, but…”, which are also useful for drawing people’s attention.

Let’s look at some useful phrases that can come in handy in different situations.


How to complain in English

  • I’m afraid I have a complaint about…
  • I have a complaint to make…
  • I really hate to tell you but…
  • There seems to be a problem/something wrong with…
  • Look, I’m sorry to bother you, but…
  • Excuse me, but I have a problem…
  • Sorry to bother you, but I wish to complain about…
  • I would be very grateful if we could find a solution to this problem.
  • Would you mind…?
  • I know it’s not your fault, but…
  • I’m sorry, but I’d like to report an issue of…
  • I was expecting…but…

How to accept a complaint

  • I’m so sorry, it will never happen again.
  • I can’t tell you how sorry I am.
  • I just don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry…
  • We’ll do our best never to make that mistake again.

How to reject a complaint

  • I’m so sorry, but there is nothing we can do about it.
  • Sorry, but I don’t think it’s my/our fault.
  • I’m afraid there is nothing (much) we can do about it.


So, imagine you’re in a cafe and you ordered coffee. The waiter overheard your order and brought you a cup of tea. Try not no tell him “This isn’t what I ordered!”. Use an indirect phrase. Tell him: “Sorry to bother you, but I’m afraid you’ve mistaken my order. I’ve ordered coffee.” I assure you you’ll be properly served after such a polite phrase.
Remember that intonation may also be important, so try to sound polite, instead of sounding nervous, impatient and aggressive.

Good luck with complaining! 😀

Ways to complain in English
Ways to complain in English

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My Lingua Academy

My Lingua Academy is an online school of English language. We give one-on-one lessons to students of English of all ages and all levels of knowledge all around the world. With us you can prepare for written assignments and exams, attend a general or business English course, or have conversation classes with qualified English teachers who have years of experience.

2 Comments

Ferdinando Soares · 17 Jun 2020 at 2:14 am

Thank you for sharing
These words are useful for me to get rid to the top

My Lingua Academy · 14 Oct 2021 at 7:31 am

You’re welcome! 😀

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