When to use "complement" - Deepstash

Keep reading for FREE

When to use "complement"

Of the two, “complement” is closer to in meaning to its Latin root. Remember, the sense of this word is one of enhancing or completing, not of praising.

Also, it takes two to complement. One thing must complement another thing, when being used as a verb.

  • Suzy’s shoes complemented her dress.
  • Mark is shopping for the perfect wine to complement the lasagna he’s making for dinner tonight.
  • The shades of blue and green complement each other nicely in Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Notice, objects complement other objects in these sentences. It’s rare for a person to “complement” something or someone.

Compliment vs. Complement

“Complement” and “compliment” are easy to confuse. In fact, they come from the same Latin word, “complementum” which means “something that completes.” However, “complement” came to its meaning through English, while “compliment” evolved through Spanish, Italian, and French use before coming into English.

When to use "Compliment"

“Compliment” can be used as a noun or a verb to mean “an expression of praise.” Think of a compliment as a gift or a present. It’s simply saying something is good in some way.

  • John paid Suzy a nice compliment on her new dress.
  • The piano instructor complimented Mark on his improvement.
  • Her compliment completely turned my day around.

It's time to
Read like a Pro.

Jump-start your

reading habits

, gather your

knowledge

,

remember what you read

and stay ahead of the crowd!

Save time with daily digests

No ads, all content is free

Save ideas & add your own

Get access to the mobile app

2M+ Installs

4.7 App Rating

CURATED BY

MORE LIKE THIS

Your Vocabulary Can Make You Sound Smart. Why use a simple 25-cents word when you can use an impressive $20 word? Sometimes, the $20 word is just what you need to turn a plain sentence into an intriguing description that will leave your listeners wanting more of your enriching vocabulary.