The words compliment and complement are both nouns and verbs. They have similar spellings, but different meanings.
A compliment is a positive comment about someone.
Synonyms: a flattering comment, praise, tribute
A compliment is something that was said (or written), not something physical. For example, “You are beautiful” is a compliment. Here are some examples:
- My wife complimented me on my new haircut. (verb)
- My wife gave me a compliment on my new haircut. (noun)
- I complimented Susan on her great performance.
- I gave Susan a compliment on her great performance.
Note: The idiom ‘to pay someone a compliment‘ means to give someone a compliment.
The main meaning of complement It is a thing that makes something complete. It is something added, e.g. a spice, that makes something perfect, e.g. a soup.
Synonyms: an addition, accompaniment, companion, supplement, accessory
Complements are usually physical things. The word is usually preceded with an adjective, e.g. ‘a good/great/perfect complement’. Here are some examples:
- Your shoes complement your outfit. (verb) (Meaning: By adding your shoes, you now look perfect.)
- Your shoes are a great complement to your outfit. (noun)
- Her voice complemented the song perfectly. (verb) (Meaning: Her voice made the song reach perfection)
- Her voice was a perfect complement for the song. (noun)
Do you think you understand? Try the compliment vs. complement quiz.
- My boss me on my hard work.
- Alfredo was the perfect to the football team. With his passing skills, the team was unstoppable.
- The meal was by a bottle of red wine from Portugal.
- What the man said was not a . It was a little rude, to be honest.
- The delicious dinner a long but enjoyable day.
If you still have questions about the difference between compliment and complement please leave a comment below.
— Written by Matthew Barton of Englishcurrent.com