Friday, September 20, 2013

Posted by Laurel Garver on Friday, September 20, 2013 1 comment
It's phonics Friday, when we learn to tell apart sound-alike words known as homophones. This week's pair came to my attention while copy editing at work. Even folks with PhDs in English can get things mixed up, and spell check will not help you.

Compliment

image: pippalou for morguefile.com
(v., trans.) To express regard, esteem, affection or admiration; to praise; to present with a token of esteem.

(n.) Praise; an expression of regard, esteem, affection or admiration.

Examples

Rupert gave me the nicest compliment; he said I have a winning smile.

Wendy strutted over in her designer dress, clearly fishing for compliments.

My compliments to the chef!

Mnemonic
Compliments mean I like it!

Complement

Photo by Modnar at morguefile.com
(v., intrans.) To complete or enhance something by adding to it.

(n.) something that completes, fills up, or makes perfect; the quantity needed to make something complete.

The term also has technical uses in geometry (making a right angle), music (completing an octave), medicine (blood components), and grammar (completing a phrase with predication), which you can read about HERE.

Examples
The throw pillows perfectly complemented Suzanne's new couch.

Kelly's illustrations complement Joe's poetry so beautifully.

We have a full complement of staff on duty this weekend.

Mnemonic
A complement is needed to complete it.

Were you aware of this pair? Any others you'd like me to cover in future posts?

1 comments:

  1. I think I've got this word down okay unless I inadvertently misspell it.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

    ReplyDelete