Using Collocation to Boost Your IELTS Score – Key Word: complaint



1          Verb + complaint

Use the correct form of these verbs:

have                   investigate            make

receive              refer                          uphold

  1. I’m not happy with the service and, to be honest, the food was not very warm. I’m not going to _____________ an official complaint, but I think you should know that we were not happy.
  2. I’m afraid I_____________ a complaint. Can I speak to the person in charge, please?
  3. A senior police officer has been suspended from duty while complaints against him are being _____________ .
  4. The court refused to_____________ the complaint against the newspaper. The footballer, John Inset, had claimed that the story run by the paper had seriously damaged his reputation.
  5. Due to the seriousness of your complaint, it will have to be_____________ to the board.
  6. The cinema has _____________ complaints from customers about the lack of parking facilities.

2          Common adjective collocations

Complete the sentences below with the following:

common          constant          justified           preposterous

official             isolated            serious             single

  1. This is the fourth time this week! Your _____________ complaints are beginning to annoy me.
  2. The most_____________ complaint tourists have about London is the high price of everything.
  3. If you are not happy with the treatment you’ve received, you should lodge an_____________ complaint.
  4. I think our complaints are totally_____________ . We didn’t receive the quality of service we paid for.
  5. The new timetable has been successful. We’ve only received one or two _____________ complaints.
  6. I’m very happy with the new members of staff. I haven’t heard a_____________ complaint about them.
  7. Inspectors visited the school after receiving a string of_____________ complaints from parents about poor standards of teaching.
  8. I’ve never heard such a_____________ complaint in my life! Tony is the most competent person I’ve ever met.

3          Noun + preposition + complaint

Complete the sentences below with a suitable preposition:

  1. If you are unhappy with the work done on your house, get a lawyer to draft a letter_____________ complaint.
  2. If you feel you have any cause_____________ complaint, please contact the manager.
  3. This year there has been a record number _____________ complaints about the standard of service on Britain’s railways. In fact, rail offices around the country have been flooded _____________ complaints.
  4. If you have good grounds____________ complaint, then it is company policy to offer you compensation.
  5. The council has received a constant stream ____________ complaints about the noise coming from the Voodoo nightclub in Surrey Street.
  6. Having to wait over 24 hours at the airport comes high on my list ____________ complaints about our holiday.

Go back and underline the complete expressions using a noun + preposition + complaint.



1.         Note the following:

I really had no cause for complaint I was treated very well.

2.         Note the following verbs used to describe making a complaint:

She has brought a complaint against her manager for unfair dismissal.

They have filed a complaint with the local authority about the lack of leisure facilities in the area.

You can also ‘lodge’ a formal complaint.

3.         Complaints are ‘dealt with’:

I’m sorry we are unable to deal with your complaint immediately, but we’ll get back to you next week.

4.         Notice the expression:

The manager was dismissed after complaints about the quality of his work.

5.         Notice the way to refer to lots of complaints:

a stream of complaints

a string of complaints



Ex 1:

  1. make 2. have 3. investigated 4. uphold 5. referred 6. received

Ex 2:

1 constant  2. common  3. official   4. justified

5 isolated   6. single      7. serious   8. preposterous

Ex 3:

  1. of         2. for            3. of, with        4. for         5. of.       6. of

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Written By

Misbah Kagad is a Content Marketing Specialist, currently working as IELTS Trainer at Experience Expert with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry. Skilled in Copywriting, Web Content writing, Management, IELTS and Research. Strong professional with a Diploma focused in Computer Science... Currently helping aspirants to crack IELTS, with tips and tricks to score a bandwidth of 8 and more. Handles the ideation and creation of compelling content including content for IELTS website, writing e-books and solving previous IELTS question papers…

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