Learn the difference between these words and you will never get them confused again.

Consider the meaning of both words before you use them.


Let’s start with the easy one. When you give someone a compliment, you are giving them some courteous praise or admiration.

Here are some examples:

She received many compliments about her new dress.

The shop owner complimented everyone on their excellent work.

“Please pass on my compliments to the chef,” said the woman to the waiter. “That dessert was delicious.”


Complement refers to anything that enhances something else when combined with it.

Here are some examples:

Your black blouse is the perfect complement to that grey skirt.

The spices in that sauces are the perfect complement to the roast beef.

His baritone voice is a good complement to her soprano.

Complement can also refer to a having a number of something that makes a group complete.

Here are some examples:

The cruise ship now has the full complement of crew.

We only have half the complement of staff that we need.

Complement is also used as a technical term in mathematics and grammar, with a specific definition for both.

Text and Image copyright © 2016 Toni Pike  – All Rights Reserved

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