Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Complaining and Apologizing - ESL EFL Activities, Lessons, Games and Worksheets

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Always and Never

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 35 Minutes

Here is an interesting role-play activity to help students practice making complaints with ‘always’ and ‘never’. The students are divided into pairs and given a set of cards. Each card contains the subject of a complaint and two verbs. Students take it in turns to pick up a card. Using a dialogue from the board, the student with the card complains about something the subject is always doing and something the subject never does, e.g. 'She’s always moving things so I can’t find them and she never cleans up after herself'. The other student makes a suggestion about the complaint. Afterwards, the students swap roles. This process continues until all the cards have been used. Afterwards, pairs role-play their dialogues in front of the class and feedback is given.

Always and Never.PDF  Exclusive 


Back to the Shop

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 35 Minutes

In this rewarding teaching activity, students role-play shop complaints and their classmates try to guess where they are and what product they are complaining about. The class is divided into groups of four and each group is split into two pairs (A and B). Each pair is given a corresponding worksheet. Each group is also given some shop pictures. The worksheets show products they brought yesterday, but there is a problem with each item and they have to return each product to the shop and make a complaint. The students then role-play shop complaints about the products on their worksheet, but they cannot say where they are or what product they are complaining about. One pair goes first. They choose an item at random from their worksheet and role-play their first complaint. One student plays the role of the customer and the other plays the role of the shop assistant. The customer makes a complaint to the shop assistant about the item they brought yesterday and he/she then tries to get an exchange or refund. The customer does this without saying what the item is or where he/she bought it, e.g. I’d like to make a complaint about a product I bought yesterday. The other pair listens to the role-play and looks at the shop pictures. Their task is to decide which shop they are in and what product the complaint is about. When the role-play is over, the other pair gives their answers and the first pair tells them whether they are right or wrong. They score one point for choosing the correct shop and two points if they guess the correct product. Then the pairs swap roles. This process continues until all the role-plays have been completed. The pair with the highest number of points at the end of the game is the winner.

Back to the Shop.PDF  Exclusive 


Complaining and Apologizing Language

ESL EFL Reading Activity - Pre-intermediate - 5 Minutes

This handout provides students with some useful expressions to use when making and dealing with complaints. The sheet covers language and phrases for making a complaint, apologizing, giving reasons, calming someone down, asking for specifics, taking action, checking back and making promises.

Complaining & Apologizing Language.PDF  Free 


Complaint Cards

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 30 Minutes

In this fun speaking activity, students practice making complaints, requests and apologies. Each pair of students is given a set of cards. On each card is a picture, a complaint and a request. The students take six cards each. They look at each card and write on the other side who they are complaining to and where they are. Students then take it in turns to hold up a card so the picture is facing them and the side they have written on is facing their partner. The student then makes a complaint. Their partner apologizes appropriately and after that a request is made. When the students have finished, they exchange cards and repeat the process. Finally, pairs of students role-play the complaints to the class.

Complaint Cards.PDF  Free 


Complaints, Apologies and Requests Lesson

ESL EFL Lesson - Pre-intermediate - 1 Hour +

In this engaging three-page lesson, students learn how to make and deal with common complaints. They also learn how to make requests using phrasal verbs and how to apologize. Students begin the lesson by looking at some common complaints made by parents and teenagers. Students discuss their ideas and generate common complaints. Students then learn how to make a request following a complaint and how to use phrasal verbs to request action. After that, students practice making apologies using various structures. Finally, students work in pairs. They put together what they have learnt in the lesson by creating mini-dialogues from pictures.

Complaints, Apologies & Requests Lesson.PDF  Exclusive 

Customer Complaints

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 Minutes

This speaking activity provides students with an opportunity to practice the language of complaining and apologizing. In this two-part role-play, students play both the party who complains and the party who receives the complaint. The class is divided into pairs (A and B). The first role-play is based on buying a phone. The students highlight the key ideas from the phone shop's advertisement. Once the students understand all the vocabulary and the role that they play, the students begin the role-play. When they have finished, the students swap roles and repeat the same procedure for a second complaint based on a flight. Finally, the students present their role-plays to the class.

Customer Complaints.PDF  Exclusive 


I’m Sorry

ESL EFL Matching and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 Minutes

In this entertaining pelmanism card game, students practice using expressions with sorry. Each group is given two sets of cards. The cards are spread out face down on the table. There are statement/question cards and response cards. Students collect matching pairs of cards that make a statement or question and response using the word 'sorry'. One student begins by turning over one card from each set. If the statement/question and response make a logical pair, they keep the two cards. If not, they turn the cards over again. The turn then passes to the next player, and so on. The winner is the student with the most cards at the end of the game. As an extension, the students test each other on making apologies. One student reads the statement/question cards and the other members of the group try to answer each one with an appropriate response. The student who does this first wins the card.

I'm Sorry.PDF  Exclusive 


Making Excuses

ESL EFL Writing and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 Minutes

In this fun teaching activity, students practice apologizing and giving excuses for their behaviour. The teacher begins the activity by writing various situations on the board, e.g. You didn't go to your English lesson. The students then write an excuse for each one. When they have finished, the teacher asks different students for their excuses. Next, the class is divided into pairs (A and B) and each student is given the corresponding part of the worksheet. Student A has a diary of Student B's behaviour and has to ask for reasons for their actions, e.g. Why were you late for class last Monday? Student B uses the prompt in the picture for that day and gives an excuse starting with 'I'm sorry...' Student A listens to their excuse and writes the corresponding day under the appropriate picture. When they have finished, students compare their worksheets.

Making Excuses.PDF  Free 


Softening Complaints

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 Minutes

In this pairwork teaching activity, students learn how to soften complaints. The class is split into pairs. Student A is given a set of strong adjective cards and Student B is given a set of positive and negative adjective cards. Student B places nine cards face up in a three by three square. Student A takes the top card from his/her pile and makes a complaint using the strong adjective on the card. If Student B has an adjective in their square that can be used to soften the complaint, they say the softened complaint and turn the card over. Student B softens the complaint by using 'not very + positive adjective' or 'rather + negative adjective'. Student A then takes another card and the process is repeated. When Student B has three cards turned over in a row, the students swap roles.

Softening Complaints.PDF  Free 


Business Complaints Lesson

Business English Lesson - Intermediate - 1 hour +

Here is a three-page business English lesson to help students master how to deal with complaints at their company. In this lesson, students learn how to handle complaints from customers and clients. Students begin by answering questions about their own experience of making and handling complaints. After that, they read about the three steps for dealing with complaints. Students then practice the language for making and handling complaints. They answer questions, match expressions and identify the functions of certain phrases. There are also several discussion questions in the lesson for the students to answer and talk about. The lesson ends with a role-play activity about a business complaint.

Business Complaints Lesson.PDF  Exclusive 


Dealing with Complaints

ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Intermediate - 30 Minutes

In this fast-paced speaking activity, students practice the language for making and dealing with complaints. The students begin by brainstorming situations in which people make complaints. The students’ ideas are written on the board and numbered. A set of expression cards is then given to each pair of students. The students then role-play complaints for the situations on the board. The aim is to use the expressions on the cards as part of their role-play. In each role-play, students take it in turns to be the person complaining and the person dealing with the complaint. Each student takes one card from the top of the pile. The students begin the first role-play and as quickly as they can, they use the expression on the card. When they have done this, and while continuing the role-play, they take another card and repeat this process. The aim of the game is to use as many of the expressions as they can during the role-play. Students score one point for each expression card that is used correctly. The students then move on to the second situation and the process is repeated. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Dealing with Complaints.PDF  Exclusive 




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