19. Complaint

It’s not very pleasant, but sometimes you just HAVE to say you are not happy about something. Here are some expressions you can use for this:

The most usual complain about services or quality of goods. Formal:

I am sorry to complain, but…

I don’t like to complain, but…

Less formal complaints about the same:

I don’t want to make fuss (about it), but…

I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but…

I don’t want to make a song and dance about it, but…

You should remember that the English are reluctant to complain, and when they do it, they often do it in a somewhat apologetic manner:

Sorry, but… could you…? – semi-formal, formal

Do you think you could…? – semi-formal, formal, depending on the tone of voice.

I wish you wouldn’t… - grumbling

Do you have to…? – sarcastic

Grumbling, semi-formal, informal:

It’s a bit much/ thick

It’s a bit much/ thick if…

It’s a bit steep. – about prices

Replies are:

Oh, I’m very sorry (Sir/ Madam)

I’ll see that everything is put right.

I’ll see to it at once.

I’ll ask/ tell the… to…

I’ll send for…

Sorry, is it bothering you?

Sorry, I thought you didn’t mind.

Sorry, I didn’t realize you felt so strongly about it.

If complaint is considered to be unjustified, one may tactfully say, for example:

Yes, I know, but…

I’m (very) sorry, but…

I’m (very) sorry, but there’s nothing we can do about it (I’m afraid).

Well, Sir/Madam, you…

{Back to Contents}