Making complaints

There are a number of formulas used when complaining in English. It's important to remember that a direct complaint or criticism in English can sound rude or aggressive. It's best to mention a problem in an indirect manner. Here are some of the most common:

  • I'm sorry to have to say this but...
  • I'm sorry to bother you, but...
  • Maybe you forgot to...
  • I think you might have forgotten to...
  • Excuse me if I'm out of line, but...
  • There may have been a misunderstanding about...
  • Don't get me wrong, but I think we should...

Construction

Formula

Example Finish

I'm sorry to have to say this but

I think we need to take another approach.

I'm sorry to bother you, but

I think you need to refine this layout.

Maybe you forgot to

include his name and number.

I think you might have forgotten to

finish the report on time.

Excuse me if I'm out of line, but

your work has not been adequate lately.

There may have been a misunderstanding about

what I expected from you.

Don't get me wrong, but I think we should

concentrate on the Smith account for the moment.

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