Monday, August 15, 2016
When to Use Compliment and Complement
‘Compliment’ and ‘complement’ are just one letter apart. These words sound the same, and if we are not careful, we can exchange one for the meaning of the other. ‘Complement’ and ‘compliment’ are homophones, which, despite sounding the same, have different usages in a sentence.
Unlike the words ‘their’ and ‘they’re,’ which can be easily recognized by the contraction and spelling, what makes the problem more complex in ‘compliment’ and ‘complement’ is the fact that they are only distinguished by a vowel in the middle – that is, the ‘e’ and ‘i.’ Let us now take a look at these words’ meaning and how they are used in a sentence.
Understanding the meaning of and using ‘compliment’ in a sentence
‘Compliment’ can act as a verb and a noun. When we use it as a noun, it means a ‘praising or flattering remark.’ For example: “Thank you for giving my friend Danny a nice compliment.” “The remarks you gave during the speech are the best compliment we have heard!” “Apple gave a great compliment to Microsoft for their innovation on the new iPad Mini.”
When used as a verb, the main function of ‘compliment’ is ‘to give esteem or praise to something.’ Here are some examples: “He tried to compliment your outfit, but you were too busy talking on the phone.” “I felt so proud that Sarah complimented on my grades for the final exam.” “Coach Mike is often complimented by club officials for his leadership skills.”
Understanding the meaning of and using ‘complement’ in a sentence
‘Complement’ can also act as a noun and a verb. When used as a noun, it means ‘completeness’ or ‘perfection.’ For example: “Dressing is the usual complement of vegetable salad.” “Your sneakers is a perfect complement of your jeans and shirt.” “Interior designers want a good combination of colors, textures and patterns that complement each other.”
As a verb, ‘complement’ means ‘to supplement or to complete adequately.’ Here are some examples: “You need to complement the meat with marinade sauce to bring out its natural flavors.” “You can complement that blouse with a matching blazer.” “The purpose of the new services is expected to complement the functions of existing facilities.”
Understanding ‘complimentary’ vs ‘complementary’
The use of these adjectives also cause confusion so it is necessary to understand them as well. ‘Complimentary’ has two definitions: ‘expressing praise or admiration’ and ‘supplying or giving free of charge.’ For instance: “I am so overwhelmed by the complimentary remarks I received from the participants.” “The company offers complimentary bus services to employees living downtown.”
‘Complementary’ on the other hand means ‘a combination or blend of things that emphasizes or enhances their good qualities.’ For example: “John and Kevin have different personalities, but have complementary skills.” “Architecture and interior design are considered complementary professions.”