Compliment vs. Complement

Grammar Tips

Compliment vs. Complement ~ Grammar Tips from Mainstay Editorial Services

Grammar Tip: Compliment vs. Complement

Yesterday, my friend complimented my shoes, or did she complement them? Do you get confused about these two words? Don’t worry, I have a tip that will help you keep them straight.

According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, a compliment is a remark that says something good about someone or something. It is a form of praise. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary says that complement means something completes something else or makes it better. In other words, something enhances something else.


  1. The girl’s friend complimented her outfit. (i.e., the girl’s outfit looks nice.)
  2. The lady’s sweater complemented her dress. (i.e., the sweater completes the look of the dress.)

How to Remember Which Word to Use

Fortunately, there is an easy way to distinguish these two words. Here’s a tip to help you remember the difference between them.

  1. Compliment – Think about the i in compliment and remember that nice has an i in it. When you give someone a compliment, you are being nice.
  2. Complement – Think about the ple in complement and remember that complete is spelled using the same letter combination – ple. When an item complements something, it completes it.

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