Compliment and complement sound the same but are spelled differently, so it’s easy to get the two confused in your writing. In this blog post, we’ll discuss their definitions and learn how to remember the two spellings.
Compliment as a verb means saying something nice. As a noun, it means the nice thing that is said.
Verb: The rat complimented the mouse’s suspenders.
Noun: The rat’s compliment made the mouse smile.
Complement as a verb means to complete. As a noun, it means something that completes.
Verb: The mouse’s suspenders complemented his outfit.
Noun: The suspenders were the perfect complement to his outfit.
How to remember the difference
Complement sort of looks like the word complete, and it means to complete.
Think complement = complete.
You can also note that both words have an E in the middle (rather than an I).
Fill in the blanks below with compliment or complement. The answers are below.
1. Rupert’s jeweled brooch _______s his look.
2. The expensive car was the _______ to her “perfect” life.
3. Tina _______ed her by saying, “You look hotter than a dead raccoon in the afternoon sun.”
4. Hilda hoped to get an A on the test, which would _______ her semester’s perfect grades.
5. The suitor’s _______ was her favorite part of their date.
1. complement 2. complement 3. compliment 4. complement 5. compliment
Erin Servais is the founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of book editing, author coaching, and social media packages.
Sign up for the Dot and Dash newsletter to get writing tips and tricks and exclusive deals.