Little Book of Confusables

Complement vs compliment: spelling tricks to help you decide

COMPLEMENT or COMPLIMENT: top spelling tips to help you remember the difference.

COMPLEMENT or COMPLIMENT – they sound the same but their meanings are very different.

So, what do these words mean – and how do you decide which spelling you need? It’s easy.

These simple spelling tips will help you decide whether you need the word COMPLEMENT or COMPLIMENT.


COMPLEMENT means to complete or match with something.

For example:

“This wine complements the dish.”

Remember the e of complete.


Spelled with an i, a COMPLIMENT is a flattering remark or praise.

For example:

“You have lovely eyes” – think eye/i.

Complementary vs complimentary

When it comes to COMPLEMENTARY and COMPLIMENTARY, these meanings follow suit:

If something is complementary it completes the set, or matches…

“The room was furnished using complementary colours that matched the decor.”

…while a complimentary remark is a flattering statement.

“He was complimentary about my dancing.”

Note that the spelling complimentary has a second meaning. It also means free, like this:

“Help yourself to a complimentary drink”

I hope these tips help you to remember the difference between COMPLEMENT and COMPLIMENT.

Get more tips in The Little Book of Confusables

Confusables: COMPLIMENT vs COMPLEMENT. Simple spelling tips to remember the difference, from The Little Book of Confusables

COMPLIMENT vs COMPLEMENT. Excerpt from The Little Book of Confusables by Sarah Townsend.

The Little Book of Confusables by Sarah Townsend

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