Sunday, September 16, 2012

Complement vs. Compliment: How to Remember the Difference

Annamaria writes:
Hi Snarky. I saw this in a brochure and I think there's a mistake in the caption. Can you please explain complement vs. compliment? I can never remember which is which. Thank you! 

Lots of people confuse these homophones, which are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings.

  • complement (v.) - to make complete; to fill out; to show off. That color complements your complexion nicely. The team's new wide receiver really complements the quarterback's throwing game.
  • compliment (v.) - to make an admiring remark. She complimented his wavy hair.

Nifty Mnemonics:
  • Visualize the first five letters of complement and its meaning. To complement makes something complete.
  • Remember, to compliment puts someone in the limelight. 

  • With effective space planning, your Dallas home will not only create a tasteful environment but one that complements your lifestyle.


  1. Which of these words should be used to indicate goods given away free of charge? as in: "My hotel provides complimentary WiFi."

  2. The possible prospects and other details as mentioned would even proved to be much better for the students. thesis paper sample