6 Cracking Complaints and Annoyances Language and Speaking Activities

 1 Calling to complain (gap fill and answers)

       This is a “calling to complain”telephoning language exercise  to help English language learners practice expressions and phrases used in everyday phone conversations. Students can try and complete the dialogues and then listen to the audio to check/compare their answers.

Office telephoning vocabulary gap fill exercise for Business English students

(download PDF)

(Calling to complain YouTube video)

Calling to complain

2 Complaints brainstorm

This is a useful icebreaker for talking about complaints with questions and answers.

(download PDF)

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3 More everyday annoyances

This  speaking activity for English language students aims to encourage them to freely express their feelings and opinions.

Everyday annoyances speaking activity for English language students.

More everyday annoyances (PDF)

4 Everyday annoyances (with answers)

This is an ESL speaking exercise for discussing everyday complaints and  annoyances . Students match vocabulary to the pictures. Then they can ask each other the the questions at the bottom of the page.

Complaints and annoyances speaking activity for ESL learners.

Everyday annoyances (PDF)

Dealing With Complaints for ESL Customer Service Reps

10 listening/speaking exercises for invitations and requests

Socializing Speaking Lessons Home

10 Role Play Speaking Activities

11 Classroom Debate and Discussion Language Activities

12 Brilliant Business English Speaking Skills  Activities

ESL listening and speaking activities for all levels

5 Talking about annoyances

This is a second ESL speaking exercise for talking about everyday annoyances. Students match the phrases on the left to the appropriate pictures. Finally they can have a conversation using the questions at the bottom of the page as a guide. 

Annoyances 2 vocabulary and speaking skills worksheet

Talking about annoyances (PDF)

6 Complaints, annoyances and responses (with answers)

Students write the problem and solution/advice for each picture.They may try to use modals and the passive tense.

Complaints and annoyances vocabulary and speaking activity worksheet.

Complaints, annoyances and solutions (PDF)

 7 Housing complaints, annoyances and problems (vocabulary and speaking with answers)

“Housing complaints’ is a slightly more advanced activity for talking about housing . Students match vocabulary to the pictures. Then they can ask each other the the questions at the bottom of the page.

Vocabulary and and speaking exercise for talking about housing complaints

Elements of housing complaints (PDF)

8 Urban complaints speaking activity

An elementary  brainstorming and speaking activity to help students discuss cities and urban areas.

Urban complaints brainstorm and speaking activity

Urban complaints (PDF)


9  Consumer complaint menu role play lesson

Consumer Complaint Menu Role Play Lesson (PDF)   

  As a class elicit a few problems you can have with these companies and any others you can think of:
  Home improvement company
  Mobile phone service
  Mail order company
  Travel service
  Car dealer
  STEP 1
  On the board write “MAIL ORDER COMPLAINT MENU” then ask around the class for sample complaints. Write them on the board. The board might look like this:
shipment never came
got the wrong order
goods were broken
expensive delivery charges
bad customer service
not the same as in the ad
no instruction manual etc….etc
  STEP 2
  Put students in groups of 3 and have ready an A4 sheet of paper for each group. Each sheet of paper has a heading similar to the following:
  Each group of students then chooses one of the complaints topics and begins to write complaints as you modeled on the board.
  STEP 3
  Rotate the complaint menus every 3 or 4 minutes so each group gets to work on each menu. In this way they get a feel for the different kind of complaints.
  STEP 4
  Once the menus have rotated right round the class or the sheets of paper are full of complaints tell the students to stop writing and model the final part of the activity – the roleplay. Pick up one menu (Travel Service Complaint Menu) and address a pair of students saying………
  STUDENT A(CUSTOMER COMPLAINER): Good day, may I see the complaints menu…..
  STUDENT B(TRAVEL SERVICE): Certainly here you are……….
  STUDENT A (CUSTOMER COMPLAINER): Yes, well first I’d like to complain about your guide…..he was very impolite……
  STUDENT B(TRAVEL SERVICE): Well,…..I’m sorry but he is new…..
  STUDENT A(CUSTOMER COMPLAINER): Secondly, I’d like to complain about the bus..it was too old………
  STUDENT B(TRAVEL SERVICE): Yes..but you chose the cheap tour…etc.
  STEP 5
  Finally, select one student out of each group to be the complainer. Give this student one of the complaint menus. The students then begin to role play. An excellent way to get students to rotate to other groups is to play the “Scissors, paper, rock” game. The loser moves to another group.  

Personal Complaint Menu Lesson

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