Faq. Preguntas frecuentes generales

The difference between words: claim and complain

The English words claim and complain for a foreigner who is beginning to study English offers some doubts, because in many countries claiming something means complaining about it.

A complaint explains what went wrong and demands compensation from the offending party, while a complaint explains what went wrong and simply demands correction or an apology. It must also be taken into account that the word claim "claim" has approximately four meanings, as we are going to verify:

−−For a person to say something without providing proof of their statement. This is often used when we have a doubt about the veracity of the statement. For example:

the taxi driver claims that he was not going against the hand

My friend claims he saw a UFO last night.

His wife claims he didn't go to anyone's house

The man was arrested for his wife's murder, but he claims he didn't do it.

−−Identify something as yours and then take it. For example:

Someone found my wallet and took it to the Lost and Found, so I went there yesterday to claim it.

You said there would be a $ 100 reward for the person who found your dog. Well, I found her, so now I'm here to claim the reward.

I'll get my bags at the baggage claim area and then meet you at immigration.

(The area at the airport where you collect your luggage is called the baggage claim area because that's where you identify your bags and pick them up.)

−−Write something on a tax form to pay less taxes or on an insurance form to get money back from the insurance company. For example:

I gave a lot of money to charity last year, so I can claim those donations on my taxes.

If you pay money for medication, your insurance company will let you claim that.

That's great. That will save me a lot of money.

- May a disaster take the lives of the people who were in it. For example:

The earthquake last week claimed the lives of over 10,000 people.

The fire in my apartment claimed the life of my landlord, but everyone else escaped.

This is how we use the word "claim". The word "complain" is used when we talk about situations or people that we do not like. It can be done in an official way or just in casual conversation. For example:

I complained to my landlord about the noise coming from my neighbor's apartment.

I'd like to complain about the service in this restaurant. My waiter was very rude to me.

He complains because they promised him a raise in salary and they have not given it to him

My co-worker is always complaining about having to work overtime.

Susan is having problems with her husband, and she complains about him all the time now.

So, this is how we use these two words in natural English.

In conclusion

As a summary we can say that a claim explains what went wrong and demands compensation from the offending party, while a complaint explains what went wrong and simply requires that there be a correction or an apology. Minor complaints are best communicated in person, they can also be made by phone or email (if it's important to have them in writing) so they can be dealt with quickly. The most serious complaints or claims (complait or claim) are sent as formal letters to leave a paper trail in case they need to be used as evidence in a lawsuit.


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