A visual prompt for remembering the difference between compliment and complement.

Complement and compliment are two words that often get mixed up. Here’s a quick guide to knowing which word to use:

“To complement” is a verb meaning “to go with or enhance”

For example,  “This bathroom range complements the taps.”

Complimentary” is an adjective meaning “free”. The verb ‘to compliment’ means ‘to praise’.

For example, “Receive a complimentary drink with your order”

“The feedback wasn’t very complimentary.”

But how do you remember which one to use? Think of ‘complement’ as beginning with the word ‘complete’, meaning to go with or complete. Think of the ‘i’ in ‘compliment’ as the nose of a smiley face, indicating some kind of praise or gift. I know this is slightly ludicrous but it’s always worked for me 🙂