Homophones: Compliment vs. Complement | Writing, Editing, & Proofreading Services

Commonly Confused Homophones: Compliment vs. Complement 

Understanding the difference between words that sound the same can be a conundrum to uncover. Homophones are two words that are pronounced the same, but possess different meanings. In this case, compliment and complement are homophones. Sometimes, it can be hard to understand which word to choose in a sentence. However, there are a few ways to remember the difference between what complements your writing style and a compliment praising you for something that you have accomplished.


compliment with the letter “i” is something that a person declares in appreciation; if I am the recipient of a compliment, I might feel appreciated. Perhaps you want to compliment another person on something that they have accomplished, such as attaining a promotion. You might also compliment someone on the publication of his or her journal article.


Complement with the letter “e” signifies completion. A scarf might complement an outfit. A complementary color might be used to paint an accent wall in a home. You might compliment your editor on their ability to complement your work with thorough edits.


Homophones that also have similar spellings often confuse writers and readers as they attempt to decide which word best fits their sentence. Remember that I love a good compliment, while complement with an “e” enhances or completes something. It is a great compliment to receive a five star rating as an editor with Editor World: Writing, Editing, & Proofreading Services.