4 Making Complaints and Giving Warnings
Useful Expressions Making Complaints: Pardon me, I wonder if it would be too much trouble to … I hate to have to(I'm sorry to) say this, but … I wonder if you could help me… Excuse me, would you mind (not)… It’s getting on my nerves! Hey, for goodness sake. How irritating / annoying! Isn’t it irritating? What a terrible / horrible / awful / dreadful luck! I’m totally unsatisfied. I’m not at all satisfied with the atmosphere here. I want to complain in the strongest terms about your poor service. I’m afraid I’ve got a complaint about … Giving Warnings: Be careful!/ Watch out! / Mind!/ Look out! Be careful of / Be aware of / Watch out for (the hot iron / pickpockets!)! Be careful not to (break the glass)! / I would be extremely careful not to … if I were you. Take care (not to wake the baby)! You’d better (not)… Behave yourself! Don’t try any tricks! Let it alone! Fire! / Gas! /Your cigarette! Mind the wet paint/ the traffic! Mind(Watch)your hand/head/step. Don’t you think you should…? I think it would be a good idea to … Culture Tips: A Complaint is to show our feelings of annoyance, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, etc. in most situations, people usually make indirect complaints. A direct complaint shows strong dissatisfaction and should be done only when absolutely necessary. For example, when you complain to a new teacher about his class, you say “I wonder if you could raise your voice a little bit in class.” It is uncommon and impolite for you to say “We can’t hear you clearly in class. Just speak up!” When making a complaint, you may show your reluctance and hesitation by a controlled tone, repetition and filled pauses to break the news to (委婉地把坏消息告诉某人)the hearer. For example, I, [pause]er, I’m not exactly sure how to put this, but, um [pause]… Another point of a polite complaint is that you have to take the other party’s interest into consideration. For example, I’m sorry to bother you, but…[pause]. There’s something you could help me with.
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When giving a warning, we tell someone something bad that may happen or how to prevent that. We should give warnings in time and appropriately once we discover someone is in danger but unaware of it. Similarly, we should do so when someone is doing something that might bring about terrible consequences. There are various ways to give warnings, considering the circumstances. In a possible emergency, warnings should be brief and straightforward, usually in the form of imperative sentences. However, on less emergent occasions, warnings should not be given so directly and bluntly, since in such cases, warnings are a special form of suggestions, which are more likely to be accepted when given in a roundabout way. Different occasions call for different patterns to give a warning. Direct and straightforward warnings ar