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Problems and complaints

1.- Introduction to Lesson

In this lesson, we are going to look at the different complaints people have and the expressions they use when they are saying what’s wrong with things. We are also going to look at the stress patterns in nouns.

Isn’t it annoying when you buy something new and within a few weeks there’s a problem with it? Don’t you find it irritating when you order food from a restaurant and the waitress brings you something completely different to what you have ordered?


2.- Your turn…

Answer the following questions out loud giving as much detail as possible.

  • Have you ever bought something on the internet and when it arrived in the post it’s not what you ordered? Explain what happened.
  • Have you ever bought an electrical item and it didn’t work when you tried to use it? Explain what happened.


3.- Vocabulary

Revise the following words.

  • A hole: un agujero
  • A stain: una mancha
  • To charge (mobile phone): cargar (movil)
  • To scratch (dvd/cd): rayar
  • To shrink (clothes): encogerse
  • To exchange: cambiar algo por algo
  • To refund: reembolsar


4.- Before listening

Look at the following objects. What problems could people experience with each item.


 imag  imag
imag  imag  imag


4.1.- Which sentences apply to the above objects?

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1)It isn´t charging
2)It doesn´t work
3)It´s got a hole in it
4)It´s chipped
5)It´s got a stain on it
6)It´s not what I ordered
7)It´s scratched
8)There´s a part missing
9)It´s over done
10)It´s shrunk in the wash
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5.- Teacher talk time

5.1.- Listen to your teacher talk about a few items she got for Christmas. Complete the table below. Only listen one time.

(Para ver la solución hacer doble click en la tabla; un click vuelve a posición original)



5.2.- Listen again and complete the following sentences.

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1)I wasn´t sure what to do because
2)I went to the shop
3)As it was an expensive brand
4)I don´t know if what I´m doing is a bad thing
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5.3.- Look at the tapescript and underline all of the nouns that appear in the first paragraph.


For Christmas this year I was given lots of lovely presents. I received some make up, a couple of books, a few items of clothing and a trip to Paris. I can’t wait to explore Paris. I’ve never been, so I’m really excited.

Unfortunately, two people gave me the same DVD. I wasn’t sure what to do because it’s quite embarrassing asking people if they still have the receipt for the present they gave you.

I was lucky though because one of the people that gave me the DVD was my brother so I asked him if he could give me some proof of purchase and he did. I went to the shop and exchanged the DVD for another one.

One of my colleagues at work gave me a bright red nail varnish. I really didn’t like it. Not my colour at all. As it was an expensive brand I decided to go to the shop to see if I could exchange it for a different one.

When I got to the shop, they told me that without a receipt I couldn’t do anything. I was quite angry really because I hadn’t used it and all I wanted to do was exchange it.

Next week it’s one of my friends birthdays and I know she loves red so I’ve decided to give it to her. I don’t know if what I’m doing is a bad thing to do but I know it’s an expensive present.


6.- Word Stress


How many syllables do the following words have?

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It is important to note that we stress the first syllable of some words and the second syllable of others.

E.g. Holiday In this example, the stress falls on the first syllable. It sounds strange if we stress the second or third syllable. Sometimes by stressing the wrong syllable we can make ourselves incomprehensible or we can even end up changing the meaning of the word.

6.1.- Decide the stress pattern of the following nouns:

(Para ver la solución hacer doble click en la tabla; un click vuelve a posición original)



7.- Your turn

Answer the following questions out loud with as much detail as possible.

  • What do you think about giving away a present someone has given you?
  • Have you ever done this? Explain what you gave and why

You might find the following expressions useful when answering the questions below:

  • I totally disagree with giving away a present…
  • I think it’s acceptable but….
  • I’m of the opinion that….
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