Posted by: episystechpubs | July 17, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Complimentary Advice

You know what I love about you guys? Yes, you. I love that you are learning and questioning things that you see online, in newspapers, and everywhere else after reading the Editor’s Corner. Of course, the world needs to watch out! There are more than a thousand of you eagle-eyed grammarians and you are making it tougher on the folks out there who aren’t as careful as you.

One of the biggest examples I’ve seen is the number of errant uses of the words complementary and complimentary—and your responses. Since several notices have gone out at JHA with these mix-ups, I’ve been asked by many of you to cover this item again, in hopes to get the word out. Here you go!

Definitions from Merriam-Webster, examples from me.

· complement

1: something that fills up or completes

2: something that fills out and makes perfect: a completing or consummating part, integral, or component


o This wine coupled with that cheese is the perfect complement to the meal we just ate.

o JHA has several fantastic core products that can be combined with hundreds of smaller, complementary products to create an unbeatable customized system.

Hint: Complementary with an “e” is about one thing completing another thing to make a perfect whole.

· compliment

1: a formal expression (as by speech, gesture, or ceremony) of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration

2: compliments plural: best wishes: regards <to send her compliments to a friend><a free sample is enclosed with the compliments of the manufacturer>

3: now dialectal: a complimentary gift: gratuity <to make a compliment of a book>


o She was always ready with a compliment rather than a complaint: “What a great imagination!” “What a fantastic use of color!” “What an innovative use for popsicle sticks!”

o “Delicious dinner, Kitty,” said Bob. “My compliments to the chef.”

o You get a complimentary stuffed squirrel with every $49.99 you spend on home décor.

Hint: “I like you,” is a compliment. Remember the important letter here is “i”.

For a previous article on complementary and complimentary:

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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