Saturday, September 18, 2010

Complement vs. Compliment: Complete Scoop

Beer Drinker Rob (also known on Twitter as @DailyBeerReview) tweeted me:
@SnarkyGrammar perhaps you have before but maybe you could take up complement vs. compliment

No problem, Rob! As illustrated in this Twitter screenshot, many people mix up the spellings of these homophones, which are words that sound the same but have different meanings. While we're at it, we'll deal with their sisters, complementary and complimentary.

  • complement (n.) - whatever is required to make something complete; a completing part. In Tom's sandwich, jelly is the complement to peanut butter.
  • complement (v.) - to make complete; fill out. That belt complements your outfit nicely. The team's new shortstop really complements the infield.
  • complementary (adj.) - completing. After we make the complementary changes to our report, we can call it a day.

  • compliment (n.) - an admiring remark; an expression of flattery. The waitress considered it a compliment when Ben left her a big tip.
  • compliment (v.) - to make an admiring remark. He complimented her beautiful blue eyes.
  • complimentary (adj.) - free; at no charge; favorable. The hotel offered complimentary breakfast. The job applicant received many complimentary testimonials from former employers.

Nifty Mnemonics: 
  • Mentally connect the first five letters of complement with its meaning. A complement makes something complete.
  • Everyone likes getting compliments. A compliment puts you in the limelight. 
  • You get a complimentary lime in your soda.

  • I should mention — I'm wearing @sweetlibertine tonight, and people compliment me on my awesome eye makeup


    1. Sweet! A grammar post without me as the defendant!

    2. I believe that you're the plaintiff in this case. :-)

    3. According to information, English Grammar is mainly source on all rules of command because of we couldn't determination any topics without grammar. So it is so useful for learn English.Thanks for information.