These two words are pronounced the same, but they are spelled differently and have different meanings.
COMPLIMENT (noun, verb)
Compliment can be both a noun and a verb. A compliment is a positive comment about someone or something, for example: “You have beautiful eyes!”
And the verb compliment (or the expression “pay someone a compliment”) means to make a positive comment:
- He complimented me on my web design skills.
- He paid me a compliment on my web design skills.
The adjective complimentary means “free”:
- At this hotel, breakfast is complimentary.
- You get a complimentary cookie when you order coffee at that café.
COMPLEMENT (noun, verb)
Complement can also be a noun or a verb. If two things complement each other, it means they go well together; they make each other appear better.
- That necklace is the perfect complement to your outfit.
(complement = noun)
- My business partner and I really complement each other. We make a good team.
(complement = verb)
The adjective complementary means that two things are different, but go together well – you could say:
- My business partner and I have complementary skills.