A ‘complement’ is something that completes something else in some way. But, ‘compliment’ is a courteous remark that expresses admiration. We’ll explain the grammar more here.

It’s very common for someone to use a word incorrectly as there are many words that sound similar but mean very different things. To avoid embarrassing blunders (even for native English speakers), we’ve come up with a list of “confusing” words and an explanation of how to correctly use them. This time, we’ll tackle complement vs compliment. 

  • Difference between complement and compliment 

  • Synonyms of complement and compliment 

  • Use complement and compliment in a sentence

Complement vs. Compliment: the difference  

Complement 

A noun: A word that refers to a person, place, thing, event, substance, or quality. 

Compliment 

Is a verb: A word or phrase that describes an action, condition, or experience.

Complement vs. Compliment: the definitions

Complement 

  • To make something else seem better or more attractive when combining with it 

Compliment 

  • A remark that expresses approval, admiration, or respect. 

  • An expression of your admiration or respect. 

  • If you give something to someone with your compliments, you give it to that person for free. 

Complement vs. Compliment: in a sentence

Complement 

  • Wine and cheese complement each other well. 

  • Her choice of wall colour complements her floors. 

  • She co-hosts the morning show with Luke and they complement each other perfectly. 

  • I hope to find a dress that complements my eye colour. 

  • There will be a written test to complement the spoken test. 

 Compliment 

  • Shower her with compliments if you want things to work in your favour. 

  • I take your interest in my work as a compliment. 

  • She gave me a copy of her latest book, with compliments. 

  • My compliments to your mum, she has done an outstanding job raising you. 

  • I have always wondered why I struggle to give compliments. 

Reference: Cambridge Dictionaryexternal icon