In a writing class last week, a participant was surprised to learn of the existence of the word complement. Like many professionals, she had thought compliment was the only form. But often the word we want is complement.
Details: Complement and complementary relate to completing. When people or things complement each other, they "complete" each other. Examples:
These pillows complement the couch beautifully.
His skills and her personality are complementary.
Compliment and complimentary relate to praise. Complimentary also means "without charge."
Thank you for the generous compliment on my work.
We offer a complimentary one-hour consultation.
Here are both parts of the confusing word pair:
Chris: I compliment you on this excellent meal.
Kris: Thank you. And your wine complemented it perfectly.
If you would like to make any complimentary or complementary comments on this post, please do so!