Complement / Compliment

homophonesOnce again, Tuesday’s Tricksters strives to help us remember there are often many ways to write a word that sounds like another.

Two I want to focus on this morning, thanks to a comment made by Sarah Elkins a few weeks ago, are complement and compliment, which are used frequently and confused just as often.

Here’s a way to help you remember which is which: Complement, which means to complete, contains most of that word right inside it!

Complement = Complete

Compliment, which means praise (something nice, right?), has the letter “i” in it as does nice.

Compliment = Nice

This is how I usually teach these two words in my Brush Up on Your American Grammar workshop, and over the years my students have found it helpful. I hope you do, too!

Are there other homophones you have trouble remembering or see misused frequently? I’d love to feature them in an upcoming Tuesday’s Tricksters.