Compliment vs Complement

[Writer’s Stuff]

Let’s do a short blog post.

Compliment versus Complement. They sound exactly the same. So when should we use them?

The two words sound exactly the same, but are used very differently.

Compliment is used for positive affirmations. Complimenting is probably the word you’re looking for. It’s used more often and has a lot more connections. ‘I like your blouse’ is a compliment. Compliments have to be positive.

A backhanded compliment means it’s both positive and negative. ‘You are the prettiest garbage heap I ever saw’ spoken to something other than a garbage heap would be a backhanded compliment. Sometimes it is not always noticeable. Such as “exotic beauty” is a backhanded compliment. (Don’t fight me.) Exotic states you don’t belong, so exotic anything is backhanded. It sounds nice, but really isn’t when referring to people.


Complement with the e instead of the i is a connection. Your blouse complements your eyes is a compliment (I hope). When we’re marking a comparison and connection in the positive, complement is the correct word.

It has to be positive. It wouldn’t complement if it wasn’t positive.

It kinda means, ‘Goes with’. So if you switch out your complement with goes with, you’re probably going to get a good makeshift sentence even if it sounds childish.

Your blouse goes with your eyes. — See. It works. It makes sense. But it sounds wrong.

Your blouse complements your eyes. — It means the same concept, but uses a word that suits. Anything can complement anything else. And figuring out how to complement items makes you a proper fashionista.

The fashionista can complement any item in their wardrobe properly.

The fashionista will gain numerous compliments about their wardrobe.


Both of these words are positive in general use.

That’s not to say we cannot switch our tones and make it negative. Or use wording that makes it negative.

‘Your outfit complements a trash pile’ is most definitely an insult.


Any further questions on compliment vs complement, ask.

If you have other words you’re not sure of, ask. I have professional working knowledge of English. I am a master writer. And I love gaining new knowledge.

Just because my raw writing isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean I lack the knowledge needed. I’m fighting disabilities that directly impact my writing skill. Add on to the fact first drafts are never perfect. They don’t need to be.

[Writer’s Stuff] for more writing blog posts.

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