Compliment or Complement?


“Compliment” is more commonly used. It means saying something nice about someone.

Examples: Mari Bontrager complimented Bob McElwain on his latest book…Jackie McCutcheon complimented Terence Kierans on his technical support tips…My compliments to the chef.

“Complement,” much less common than “compliment,” has a number of meanings associated with matching, completing, or perfecting. If you’re not giving someone praise, the word is usually “complement.”

Examples: My new yellow socks complement my orange shoes…His purple hair complements his green eyes…The Air Force base has a full complement of pilots.

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