Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

is there a difference between 投诉 and 抱怨? All I know is that they both mean "complain".

share|improve this question
up vote 6 down vote accepted

投诉=complain (to a department)

抱怨=grumble (usually talking to a friend)

If you look at the character, 诉=suit, 怨=grudge

share|improve this answer

It's right that they both mean complain, and that is because "complain" has different meanings. If you look up complain in a dictionary , 抱怨 is corresponding to the

1.To express feelings of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.

and 投诉 is corresponding to

2.To make a formal accusation or bring a formal charge.

share|improve this answer
Whoever downvoted this, it would be nice if you could put a comment here/edit my answer and hopefully help other people, because I think this is a common one. (I was asked the same question in real life before) – gherkin Apr 23 '14 at 22:16

抱怨 is to complain 投诉 is to lodge a complaint

share|improve this answer

投诉 means to complain in the legal or "formal" sense.抱怨 means to complain in the social sense.

They both meant to "complain," just in different contexts.

share|improve this answer

投诉 is to express your discontentment to some organizations or institutes; 抱怨 is usually used to grumble to people around you.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.