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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 use them correctly. 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: the synonyms

Complement 

Could also mean (synonyms): Add, supplement, balance, complete, accompaniment, enhance, improve, boost. 

 Compliment 

Synonyms include: Praise, tribute, approval, flatter, approve, admire.

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

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Misspelled words often find their way into our world. So, that’s making it increasingly tough to know what is right and wrong. Let’s admit it, speaking can be deceiving, especially if it’s in a language that is not your mother tongue. That got us thinking and we decided to start our own “pronunciation” series and list the 50 most commonly mispronounced words. The list provides a good start to help you articulate and enunciate words correctly and may be a useful tool for your IELTS Speaking test.