Daily Archives: August 13, 2008

Grammar Wednesday

You, know; the one on WEDNESDAY.

Seriously, You Guys; I don’t know what was wrong with me yesterday.  I’m back on track now, though; I know what day it is today.  Sorry ’bout that.

Okay, here’s a question from Kizz, who says:

I keep forgetting to ask for a review of complimenting vs. complementing. I’ve been seeing them used in ALL the wrong ways by people who should know better and in all the right ways by people who surprise me.

Compliment, with an i, is a noun meaning an expression of praise or admiration.  It’s also a verb which means to offer up such a comment:

I often receive compliments on how polite my children are, which leads me to wonder how other people’s kids behave.

She received compliments all night on her gorgeous earrings.

When you see her, don’t forget to compliment her for earning highest honors in the class.

Complement, with an e, is most often used as a noun which means something that completes or accentuates something else (there are a bunch of other meanings, too, but let’s not complicate things too much; it’s still early as I write this).  It’s also, as above, a verb meaning to complete or accentuate:

The wine was an excellent complement to the meal.

That scarf really complements your sweater, and it highlights the green in your eyes. (which, coincidentally, is a nice compliment, too!)

I actually DO have a clever way of remembering this one: the “e” in complement is reminiscent of the “e” in complete; if you’ve got an “i,”, it’s the “saying something nice” compliment – the “e” is the “finishing or accentuating” complement.
Get it?

Happy Wednesday (for real this time), Everyone!


Filed under Grammar