What’s the difference between complement vs. compliment?
Compliment and complement are two words that are often confused with each other, and for good reason. They are spelled similarly, sound alike, and both have to do with something being completed or enhanced. However, they have different meanings and uses, and it’s important to know the difference between them to avoid confusion and miscommunication.
In this article, we will explore the differences between compliment vs. complement and provide examples of how to use them correctly.
Compliment vs. Complement
When it comes to the English language, homophones can be a tricky business. One such pair of words that often causes confusion is “compliment” and “complement.”
“Compliment” is a noun that refers to an expression of admiration, praise, or congratulations. It can also be used as a verb, meaning to express admiration or praise towards someone. For example, we might say, “I received a compliment on my outfit today,” or “I complimented my friend on their excellent cooking skills.”
To use compliment as a noun in a sentence, you can follow this pattern:
Subject + verb + article + compliment + preposition + object
- We paid the chef a compliment on the delicious meal.
- She gave me a compliment on my outfit.
- He received compliments for his excellent presentation.
When using “compliment” as a verb, it is important to use it correctly in a sentence. Here are some tips:
- Use “compliment” when expressing admiration or praise towards someone or something.
- Use “complimentary” when something is given for free or as a courtesy.
- Use “complementary” when two things work well together or complete each other.
- I received a complimentary ticket to the concert. (courtesy)
- The colors of your outfit are complementary.(complementary)
- I want to compliment you on your excellent taste in music. (praise)
“Complement,” on the other hand, is a noun that refers to something that completes or enhances something else. It can also be used as a verb, meaning to complete or enhance something else. For example, we might say, “The red shoes complemented her dress perfectly,” or “The side salad complemented the main course.”
Complement can be used in a variety of ways in a sentence. Here are some examples:
- The colors of the painting were a perfect complement to the room.
- The chef’s use of spices was a great complement to the dish.
- The new employee is a valuable complement to our team.
When using complement as a verb in a sentence, it is important to consider the context and what you are trying to convey. Here are some tips for using complement as a verb:
- Think about what you are trying to enhance or complete with the thing you are describing as a complement.
- Use descriptive language to convey how the two things work well together.
- Consider the tone and purpose of your sentence – are you trying to be informative, persuasive, or something else?
- The red wine complements the steak perfectly.
- The new artwork complements the decor of the room.
- The team’s strengths complement each other, making them a smart and effective group.
Differences between Compliment vs. Complement
The reason why “compliment” and “complement” are often confused is because they are homophones – words that sound the same but have different meanings. In fact, they are so similar that they are often misspelled. However, it’s important to understand the difference between the two words in order to use them correctly.
One way to remember the difference between compliment vs. complement is to think of “compliment” as something nice you say to someone, while “complement” is something that goes well with something else. In other words, a “compliment” is a verbal expression of praise, while a “complement” is a physical or tangible thing that enhances or completes something else.
In conclusion, knowing the difference between compliment vs. complement can help you avoid common spelling errors and use these words correctly in your writing and speech. Remember, a “compliment” is a verbal expression of admiration, while a “complement” is something that enhances or completes something else.
Complementary vs. Complimentary
Complementary refers to two or more things that work together to enhance or complete each other. Complementary items or qualities are different but work well together. In mathematics, complementary angles are two angles that add up to 90 degrees. In art, complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green, yellow and purple, and blue and orange.
Complimentary, on the other hand, means expressing admiration, praise, or approval. It can also mean something that is given for free, such as a complimentary ticket or a complimentary drink.
Examples of Complementary and Complimentary
Here are some examples to help differentiate between complementary and complimentary:
- The chef’s choice of wine was complementary to the meal’s flavors.
- The hotel offered their guests complimentary breakfast.
- The blue and orange colors in the painting were complementary to each other.
- The speaker received many compliments on their presentation.
Colors and Complementary vs. Complimentary
As mentioned earlier, complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. They are often used together in art and design to create a striking contrast. Complimentary colors, on the other hand, have nothing to do with color theory and are simply a way of expressing praise or giving something for free.
Overall, it’s important to understand the difference between complementary vs. complimentary to avoid confusion and misuse in both writing and speaking.
In conclusion, understanding the difference between complement vs. compliment is essential for effective communication. Complement refers to something that completes or enhances something else, while compliment is an expression of admiration, esteem, or approval.
It is important to use these words correctly to avoid confusion and miscommunication. Here are some key takeaways:
- Complement is a noun or verb that refers to something that completes or enhances something else.
- Compliment is a noun or verb that refers to an expression of admiration, esteem, or approval.
- Both words come from the Latin complēre (meaning “to complete”).
Remember that context is crucial when using these words. It is important to use the correct word in the appropriate context to ensure that your message is clear and effective.
By understanding the difference between complement vs. compliment, we can communicate more effectively and avoid common mistakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between “compliment” and “complement”?
“Compliment” and “complement” are two words that are often confused because they sound similar and are spelled similarly. However, they have different meanings. “Compliment” refers to an expression of praise or admiration, while “complement” refers to something that completes or enhances something else.
Can “compliment” and “complement” be used interchangeably?
No, they cannot be used interchangeably. They have different meanings and are used in different contexts.
When should I use “compliment”?
“Compliment” is used when referring to an expression of praise or admiration. For example, “She received a compliment on her new dress.”
When should I use “complement”?
“Complement” is used when referring to something that completes or enhances something else. For example, “The red shoes complemented her outfit perfectly.”
Can “compliment” and “complement” be used together in a sentence?
Yes, they can be used together in a sentence to emphasize both praise and completion. For example, “The new curtains really complement the room, and I must compliment you on your excellent taste.”
Is there a difference in spelling between “compliment” and “complement”?
Yes, there is a difference in spelling between the two words. “Compliment” has an “i” in the middle, while “complement” has an “e” in the middle.
How to Use Compliment vs. Complement | Infographic
Compliment vs. Complement
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