Beautiful penmanship and poetic writing can be ruined by jarring grammatical errors. For today’s #WriteWellWednesday we will look at the difference between compliment (with an I) and complement (with an E).
Compliment means the expression of praise or admiration.
If you like someone, you could offer them a compliment.
Complement is most commonly used to express the idea that one thing fits together with, completes, or improves the other. For example, wine could complement food.
For a quirky usage, complement can also mean the people-carrying capacity of a ship. Complement also has some technical uses in mathematics and systemic grammar. Finally, in relation to the immune system, complement refers to a set of proteins which, when activated, help pop holes in germs!
The fountain pen ink on your finger tips complements your eyes.
Put simply, to compliment is to say something nice, while complement is for all other uses.
If I want to compliment someone’s fountain pen ink, I tell them that their inky fingers complement their eyes.