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Lexical battle: Compliment vs. Complement

16 July 2017 36

Have you ever heard something about homophones? Well, even if the word “homophones” is unknown for you, I’m pretty sure you have used such words as compliment and complement at least once in your life.

Since compliment and complement sound the same, they are often misspelled. Almost everyone challenged with the dilemma of spelling these words correctly and not mixing up their meanings. So if you do not want to accidentally use the wrong word, let’s finally figure out what is what and remember when you should write “i” or “e.”

There are two main reasons why people get confused with compliment and complement: they’re not educated enough or used to a fast typing and a bad proofreading. Even if you check your texts after you’re done with writing, you don’t always pay attention to such long and complicated words, so it’s pretty easy not to notice a small difference between letters“i” and “e.” You might not agree because almost any device has the auto correction feature that should improve the whole text. But believe me or not, it won’t catch this type of mistakes because this function checks only the legitimate spelling and not the fitting by meaning.

So there are no other ways except to remember what do compliment and complement mean. I will show you some memory tricks as well as some everyday examples that will likely help you with understanding both of these words.

Compliment. Noun:

You might know and even use in a daily life such ordinary word as compliment. But I’ll mention anyway that people express their praise or admiring of someone or something with this word. Also, the word compliment applies as a courteous greeting or the form of regards. Hope, you won’t need to visit a court, so the next time you see a person that admires you, don’t hesitate and make a compliment. Then repeat the phrase “I like to make compliments” and remember that the first letter of that sentence is I which also goes into the middle part of the word compliment. That might make it easier for you to keep in mind.

Compliment. Verb:

Most of the times the verb form of compliment goes with an object and is used as an action word in cases when you need to pay a compliment, either show the regard by doing something or congratulate someone.

Complement. Noun:

As you might guess, complement is the homophone of the word compliment and has a different origin and meaning. This word came originally from the Latin language and was spelled like “complēmentum.” Even so, this word looks a bit different today, it still means when one thing completes another one and enhances or highlights its quality. Also, complement is a standard group for an operation as in a "crew", for example. So when having troubles with spelling complement next time, imagine a crew that is supposed to operate a ship.

Complement. Verb:

Complement is often used as an additional action meaning of completing something or making something look better. For instance, “These shoes complement your dress better than the ones you wore before.” So you can see that the dress and shoes go well together or simply complement each other saying in different words.

I hope, from now you will distinguish these two words much easier and no longer get confused. Also, try to be nice to people and do more compliments and maybe this will help you to remember everything in a simple way.

Good luck with complimenting!

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  • Егор Тимченко 3 months ago cool article! Reply 1 Response
    • Егор Тимченко 3 months ago @Егор Тимченко yeaah! yeaah! Reply