How Do You Say “Complaint” In Spanish?

Learning a new language can be a daunting task, but it is also an incredibly rewarding experience. Being able to communicate with people from different cultures and backgrounds opens up a whole new world of opportunities. If you’re looking to expand your language skills, you might be wondering how to say “complaint” in Spanish. The Spanish word for “complaint” is “queja”.

How Do You Pronounce The Spanish Word For “Complaint”?

Learning to properly pronounce Spanish words is essential for effective communication. One commonly used word in Spanish is “queja,” which means “complaint” in English.

Phonetic Breakdown

The phonetic spelling of “queja” is /ˈke.xa/.

Here is a breakdown of each sound in the word:

Sound Phonetic Symbol
/k/ voiceless velar plosive
/e/ mid front unrounded vowel
/x/ voiceless velar fricative
/a/ open front unrounded vowel

Tips For Pronunciation

Here are some tips to help you pronounce “queja” correctly:

  • The first sound, /k/, is pronounced by making a sharp sound at the back of the throat.
  • The second sound, /e/, is pronounced like the “e” in “bet.”
  • The third sound, /x/, is pronounced like the “h” in “hat,” but with more force.
  • The fourth sound, /a/, is pronounced like the “a” in “father.”
  • Remember to stress the first syllable, “que,” and make the second syllable, “ja,” short and crisp.

With these tips and the phonetic breakdown, you can confidently pronounce “queja” and effectively communicate your thoughts and needs in Spanish.

Proper Grammatical Use Of The Spanish Word For “Complaint”

Proper grammar is essential when using the Spanish word for “complaint,” or queja. It is important to understand the correct placement of queja in sentences, verb conjugations or tenses if applicable, agreement with gender and number if applicable, and any common exceptions.

Placement Of Queja In Sentences

Queja is a noun and can be used in different parts of a sentence depending on the context. It can be used as the subject, direct object, or indirect object of a sentence. Here are some examples:

  • Subject: La queja es válida. (The complaint is valid.)
  • Direct object: Hice una queja formal. (I made a formal complaint.)
  • Indirect object: Le presenté mi queja al gerente. (I presented my complaint to the manager.)

Verb Conjugations Or Tenses

When using queja in a sentence, it may be necessary to conjugate the verb to match the tense and subject. Here are some examples:

  • Present tense: Yo me quejo por el mal servicio. (I complain about the poor service.)
  • Past tense: Ella presentó una queja formal. (She made a formal complaint.)
  • Future tense: Vamos a presentar una queja por escrito. (We are going to file a written complaint.)

Agreement With Gender And Number

In Spanish, nouns have gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural). Queja is a feminine noun, so it must agree with feminine articles and adjectives. Here are some examples:

  • Singular: La queja fue atendida rápidamente. (The complaint was quickly addressed.)
  • Plural: Las quejas de los clientes son importantes para nosotros. (The complaints of the customers are important to us.)

Common Exceptions

There are some common exceptions when using queja in Spanish. One exception is the phrase “sin queja,” which means without complaint. Another exception is the phrase “poner una queja,” which means to file a complaint. Here are some examples:

  • Sin queja: El servicio fue excelente, sin queja alguna. (The service was excellent, without any complaint.)
  • Poner una queja: Si no está satisfecho, puede poner una queja formal. (If you are not satisfied, you can file a formal complaint.)

Examples Of Phrases Using The Spanish Word For “Complaint”

Learning common phrases in a new language is essential to be able to communicate effectively. One important phrase is the word for “complaint” in Spanish. Here are some examples of how this word is used in everyday conversation.

Examples And Explanation Of Usage

  • “Tengo una queja” – This phrase translates to “I have a complaint.” It is commonly used when expressing dissatisfaction with a product or service.
  • “No tengo ninguna queja” – This phrase translates to “I have no complaints.” It is often used when someone wants to express satisfaction with a particular situation or experience.
  • “Recibí muchas quejas sobre el servicio” – This phrase translates to “I received many complaints about the service.” It is commonly used in a professional setting when discussing customer feedback.
  • “Mi queja es que el restaurante estaba muy ruidoso” – This phrase translates to “My complaint is that the restaurant was very noisy.” It is used when expressing a specific issue or problem with a particular situation.

These phrases can be used in a variety of situations and can help you effectively communicate your thoughts and feelings in Spanish.

Example Dialogue

Spanish English Translation
Cliente: Tengo una queja sobre mi pedido. Customer: I have a complaint about my order.
Empleado: ¿Qué problema tuvo con su pedido? Employee: What issue did you have with your order?
Cliente: Mi queja es que mi comida llegó fría. Customer: My complaint is that my food arrived cold.
Empleado: Lo siento mucho. Le prepararemos otro plato caliente de inmediato. Employee: I’m very sorry. We will prepare another hot dish for you immediately.

As you can see, using the word for “complaint” in Spanish is essential for effective communication in a variety of situations.

More Contextual Uses Of The Spanish Word For “Complaint”

Understanding the different contexts in which the Spanish word for “complaint” is used can help you use it more effectively in your conversations and writing. Here are some of the most common contexts:

Formal Usage Of Complaint

In formal situations, such as when writing a letter of complaint to a business or government agency, it’s important to use the correct terminology. The most common word for “complaint” in this context is “queja.” For example:

  • Por medio de la presente quiero presentar una queja formal contra su empresa. (I hereby want to file a formal complaint against your company.)
  • La queja que he presentado a su departamento no ha sido resuelta satisfactoriamente. (The complaint I filed with your department has not been resolved satisfactorily.)

Informal Usage Of Complaint

In everyday conversation, you might use a more casual word for “complaint.” The most common one is probably “quejarse,” which means “to complain” or “to grumble.” For example:

  • Siempre se está quejando de todo. (He’s always complaining about everything.)
  • Deja de quejarte y ponte a trabajar. (Stop complaining and get to work.)

Other Contexts

Spanish, like any language, has its fair share of slang, idiomatic expressions, and cultural/historical uses of words. Here are a few examples of how “queja” might be used in these contexts:

  • Quejica: a slang term for someone who complains a lot.
  • Quejumbroso/a: another slang term for someone who complains a lot, but with a more negative connotation.
  • Quejar de vicio: a colloquial expression that means “to complain for the sake of complaining.”

Popular Cultural Usage

Finally, it’s worth noting that “complaint” might be used in popular culture in ways that differ from its everyday usage. For example, in the Spanish children’s song “Los Pollitos Dicen,” the mother hen responds to her chicks’ complaints with the phrase “pio pio pio.” This has become a cultural touchstone in Spanish-speaking countries.

Regional Variations Of The Spanish Word For “Complaint”

Spanish is spoken in many countries around the world, and as a result, there are regional variations in the language. One such variation is the use of different words for the same concept. In this case, we will explore the regional variations of the Spanish word for “complaint.”

How The Spanish Word For Complaint Is Used In Different Spanish-speaking Countries

In Spain, the word for complaint is “queja.” This is the most common word for complaint in the Spanish language and is used throughout the country. However, in other Spanish-speaking countries, there are different words used to express the same concept.

In Mexico, the word for complaint is “queja” as well. However, in some regions of Mexico, the word “reclamo” is also used. In Central America, the word “queja” is also commonly used, but in some countries, such as Guatemala, the word “denuncia” is also used to express a complaint.

In South America, the word for complaint can vary greatly depending on the country. In Argentina, the word for complaint is “queja,” while in Chile, the word “reclamo” is used. In Colombia, the word “queja” is also used, but in some regions, the word “reclamo” is used instead. In Peru, the word “queja” is used, but in some regions, the word “quejido” is used to express a complaint.

Regional Pronunciations

Not only do the words for complaint vary by region, but the pronunciation can also differ. For example, in Spain, the word “queja” is pronounced “keh-hah,” while in Mexico, it is pronounced “keh-ha.” In Chile, the word “reclamo” is pronounced “rek-lah-moh,” while in Colombia, it is pronounced “reh-kla-moh.”

It is important to note that while there are regional variations in the Spanish language, speakers from different regions can still understand each other. However, it is always helpful to be aware of these variations, especially if you are traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and need to express a complaint.

Other Uses Of The Spanish Word For “Complaint” In Speaking & Writing

The Spanish word for “complaint” can have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It is important to distinguish between these uses in order to effectively communicate your message in Spanish.

Legal Complaints

One common use of the Spanish word “queja” is in the legal context, where it refers to a formal complaint or grievance filed with a court or government agency. In this context, “queja” is often used interchangeably with “denuncia,” which can mean both a complaint and a report of a crime.

For example, if you need to file a complaint about discrimination in the workplace, you would use the Spanish phrase “presentar una queja por discriminación laboral.”

Expressing Displeasure Or Dissatisfaction

Another common use of “queja” is to express displeasure or dissatisfaction with something. In this context, it can be translated as “complaint,” “gripe,” or “quejido.” This use of the word is similar to its meaning in English, but it is important to note that it can have a more negative connotation in Spanish.

For example, if you want to complain about the service at a restaurant, you could say “tengo una queja sobre el servicio en este restaurante.”

Medical Complaints

The Spanish word “queja” is also commonly used in the medical context to describe a patient’s symptoms or complaints. In this context, it is often translated as “symptom” or “complaint.”

For example, if you are experiencing chest pain, you would say “tengo una queja de dolor en el pecho.”

Overall, the Spanish word for “complaint” can have a variety of meanings depending on the context in which it is used. By understanding these different uses, you can effectively communicate your message in Spanish and avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.

Common Words And Phrases Similar To The Spanish Word For “Complaint”

Synonyms And Related Terms

There are several words and phrases in Spanish that are similar in meaning to the word “complaint.” Some of the most common include:

Word/Phrase Meaning
Queja A complaint or grievance
Reclamo A complaint or claim
Denuncia An accusation or complaint made to authorities
Protesta A protest or objection

These words are often used interchangeably with “queja,” which is the most common term for “complaint” in Spanish. However, “reclamo” and “denuncia” are usually used in more formal or legal contexts, while “protesta” is often associated with public demonstrations or activism.


Antonyms for “complaint” in Spanish include:

  • Elogio – Praise or compliment
  • Aprobación – Approval or agreement
  • Aplauso – Applause or acclaim

These words are the opposite of “complaint” in that they express positive feelings or opinions rather than negative ones. They are often used in combination with the verb “dar” (to give) to indicate that someone is giving praise or approval:

“Le dio elogios por su trabajo” (He gave him praise for his work)

Mistakes To Avoid When Using The Spanish Word For “Complaint”

As a non-native Spanish speaker, it’s easy to make mistakes when using the word “complaint” in Spanish. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Using “Queja” Instead Of “Reclamo”

One common mistake is using “queja” instead of “reclamo” to express the idea of a complaint. While both words are related to negative feedback, “queja” refers to a general expression of dissatisfaction, while “reclamo” is a more specific term for a formal complaint or claim.

To avoid this mistake, make sure you use “reclamo” when you want to express a formal complaint or claim, and use “queja” when you want to express a general dissatisfaction or annoyance.

Mistake #2: Misusing “Quejarse”

Another common mistake is misusing the verb “quejarse” when talking about a complaint. While “quejarse” means “to complain,” it’s not the right verb to use when talking about a formal complaint or claim.

To avoid this mistake, use the verb “presentar” or “hacer” when talking about a formal complaint or claim. For example, “Presenté un reclamo formal” (I filed a formal complaint).

Mistake #3: Using “Quejido” Instead Of “Queja”

Finally, some non-native speakers confuse the words “queja” and “quejido.” While “queja” means “complaint,” “quejido” means “groan” or “moan.”

To avoid this mistake, make sure you use “queja” when you want to express a complaint, and use “quejido” when you want to express a groan or moan.


In this blog post, we have discussed the various ways to say complaint in Spanish. We started by exploring the basic meaning of the word complaint and how it is used in the English language. Then we delved into the different translations of the word complaint in Spanish, including queja, reclamo, and denuncia. We also discussed the context in which each of these words is used, and how to differentiate between them.

Furthermore, we highlighted the importance of understanding the cultural nuances of the Spanish language, particularly when it comes to expressing complaints. We emphasized the need to be mindful of the tone and language used, and to always strive for clear communication.

Encouragement To Practice And Use Complaint In Real-life Conversations

Learning a new language can be challenging, but with practice and dedication, it is possible to become fluent. We encourage you to continue practicing your Spanish language skills, and to use the words and phrases you have learned in real-life conversations.

Expressing complaints is a common part of daily life, and by mastering the different ways to say complaint in Spanish, you will be better equipped to communicate effectively with Spanish speakers. So, don’t be afraid to put your new knowledge into practice and start using queja, reclamo, and denuncia in your conversations today!

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority and He’s a seasoned innovator, harnessing the power of technology to connect cultures through language. His worse translation though is when he refers to “pancakes” as “flat waffles”.