Complementary vs Complimentary: Difference between Them and How to correctly use them

There are a lot of English words which are misused in sentences and conversations due to their similarity in terms of spelling, pronunciation, and sometimes in meaning. The terms “complementary” and “complimentary” are some of the words that are used interchangeably because of how they are only spelled with one letter difference and how they are pronounced. The term “complimentary” is spelled with an “i” while the term “complementary” is spelled with an “e.” “Complimentary” means expressing praise or admiration, however, it is sometimes used to mean free. Meanwhile, “complementary” means completeness or enhances the qualities of something else. These words are both correct terms but must be used according to its assigned meaning. 

The differences and comparisons for the terms  “complimentary” and “complementary” are listed below. 

  • “Complimentary” is used in reference to flattering or praising someone.
  • “Complimentary” is used to give something away for free. 
  • “Complementary” is used to complete or provide something lacking. 
  • “Complementary” is used to describe two or more parts that work together well. 

Content writers must know the difference between “complimentary” and “ complementary” in order to properly use the terms. Content writers must know that the word “complimentary” must solely be used to refer to admiration or providing something for free. On the other hand, “complementary” which is spelled with the letter “e” must solely be used for comparing two entities in such a way as to enhance or emphasize the qualities of each other or another. Understanding the difference between these words is vital in order to provide the right message to the audience.

Some examples of sentences using the word “complimentary” are the following; “He had complimentary tickets to take his girlfriend to see their favorite movies.” and  “He had only complimentary things to say about her cooking.” The examples show the different usage of the term “complimentary”. The first example is used to describe an event that shows someone has something for free. Meanwhile, the other example is used to describe an event or action that indicates someone is giving compliments to someone. On the other hand, some examples of using the word “complementary” in sentences are the following; “She wore a new outfit with a complementary scarf.” and  “My spouse and I have complementary goals.” The two example sentences show that the term “complementary” is being used to describe completeness for one another. 

Many content writers have been asking “why know the difference between “complimentary” and “complementary” for content writing and marketing?” The reason for that is they need to write better content and communicate in a healthier way to the audience. It is very important that writers have a clear understanding of what their content is all about in order to provide comprehensible output to the audience. Having wide knowledge about the differences between the terms “complimentary” and “complementary” is vital to the success of the content if its purpose is to educate the audience. 

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What does “Complementary” Mean?

The term “complementary” means to complete or to enhance the qualities of something else. It is being used to describe an event or things that are different from each other but makes a good combination. “Complementary” is an adjective word that means mutually completing each other’s deficiencies. It comes from the root word “complement,” which was derived from Old French “compliement,” meaning accomplishments. Some other dictionaries, such as Oxford define the term “complementary” as two people or different things that are different but together form a useful or attractive combination of skills, qualities, or physical features. The first known use of the “complementary” was in the year 1829. It is a term that’s commonly used in the English language to the point that it became an important word used for the daily activity of people. It is being used by individuals to provide a clear understanding of what they are trying to mean on a conversational basis. 

What are the sentence examples with “Complementary”?

Listed below are the example sentences using the term “complementary.” 

  • “They are going to give you color combinations that are complementary or, at the very least, colors that don’t clash.” The term ”complementary” is being used to mean having perfectness of combined color. It is used to describe the completeness of color if it is mixed correctly or at least the color that is not contrasting to the other color.  
  • Complementary side dishes include baked sweet potatoes, salads, fries, and fresh bakes yeast rolls.” The word “Complementary” is being used to mean a perfect mixture of food. The foods mentioned are different from one another, but it is supplementing or creates edification for one another.
  • “His personality is complementary to hers.” The word “complementary” is being used here to describe a character of a person that completes the other person’s persona. 
  • “My family and my job both play an important part in my life, fulfilling separate but complementary needs.” The adjective term “complementary” is used in a sentence to mean something that’s very particular in a person’s life despite its difference. It expresses an idea that two different entities complete the subject’ life separately when it comes to such needs.
  • “The computer and the human mind have different but complementary abilities.” The adjective “complementary” is being used in the sentence to indicate that two different things, namely the human mind and the computers, supplement one another, especially when it comes to innovating. 

When to use the word “Complementary” in a sentence?

The term “complementary” must be used in a sentence to mean serving completeness or supplying to mutual needs. The term “complementary” is being used mostly with colors. However, it is sometimes used with other things, such as people’s personalities, foods, and etc. Content writers are able to use the word “complementary” to provide a clear message to the audience, how  things create completeness or wholeness to one another. Writers must not confuse the word “complementary” to the term “complimentary.” The best tip to remember is that the word “complementary” is closely spelled to the word complete and must be spelled with all letters “e.”   

How often is the word “Complementary” used in a sentence?

The word “complementary” must only be used once in a sentence. It must not be used as a redundant word within a sentence. On the other hand, content writers are able to use as many other words as they want within a sentence as long as all the words are in the right place, grammatically speaking. Repeating words is a matter of style. Many repeated words within a sentence or paragraph makes the sentence itself feel simpler. However, content writers must be mindful of how these words are being used, especially the term “complementary.” Good quality content must be understandable and easy to read.   

What are the synonyms of “Complementary”?

There are a lot of synonyms for the term “complementary.” Some of these terms are “mutual,” “combined,” “shared,” “reciprocal,” “common,” “united,” “joint,” etc. These words are related to each other in such a way that one completes the other. Some examples of using one of the synonyms of “complementary” are the following; “Jane and Johnny’s skills are mutual (complementary); he’s good at following a daily routine, while she’s great at handling emergencies.”, and  “The mutual (complementary) relationship that binds the two.” The example sentences used the word  “mutual,” the synonym of “complementary,” which means the same thing, to complete something despite its differences. There are other variations of the term “complementary,” however, one of the most common words is “complete.”  

What does “Complimentary” Mean?

The term “complimentary” means someone is flattering or admiring someone. However, the term “complimentary” is sometimes used to mean “free.” The adjective “complimentary” comes from the root word “compliment.” It was derived from the Latin term “complementum,” which means fills up. The first known use of “complimentary” was in the year 1714. Some dictionaries, such as Oxford Dictionary define “complimentary” as expressing approval. It is a very common word used in the English language and one of the most important words used in people’s daily lives. The word “complimentary” became an important factor to people and is used in daily conversation to provide a better understanding of what the conversation is all about. 

What are the sentence examples with “Complimentary”?

Listed below are the example sentences using the term”complimentary.” 

  • “She got complimentary tickets for the cinema.” The word “complimentary” is used in a sentence to mean something that is free. The sentence indicates that someone received something to watch for free in the cinema.
  • “The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast that is free of charge for any guest that books a room.” The adjective “complimentary” is used to mean free. It is being used to emphasize that guests who decide  to book a room are going to receive something that is free of charge without any hidden charges on their account. 
  • “Not all of his comments were complimentary.” The term “complimentary” is used here to mean someone said something that is the opposite of praise. These remarks are not pleasing to the ears and hurt someone’s feelings instead. 
  • “She made some highly complimentary remarks about their school.” The word “complimentary” is used to mean that someone said something pleasing to the school. Someone is highly praising the school with nice words.
  • “He received remarks that were reverse of complimentary.” The term “complimentary” is used to indicate something opposite to applaud words. The sentence denotes that someone gave comments on something that are not expressing admiration but rather expressing something that hurts someone’s feelings. 

When to use the word “Complimentary” in a sentence?

The word “complimentary” must be used in expressing admiration or in praising someone. However, content writers are able to use the word “complimentary” to mean that something is free of charge for anything or something. Content writers must not misuse the term “complimentary” with “complementary” despite their identical pronunciation because they have different usage when it comes to their meanings. Content writers must remember that the word “complimentary” is spelled with the letter “i.” Content writers must use specific words and must have enough knowledge on every word being used, especially the term  “complimentary” to create strong and compelling images in the minds of the readers. 

How often is the word “Complimentary” used in a sentence?

The word “complimentary” must solely be used once in a sentence. It must not be used as a redundant word within a sentence. However, there are some instances when content writers are able to use the same word repeatedly in a sentence, but they need to keep in mind that these words must be kept in the right place. Content writers must be aware of what words to use because sometimes there are instances that make the content less in quality. The fewer or less words content writers choose, the more powerful are the contents that they are able to make. On top of that, the more opportunities they have to connect to the audience as a result. 

What are the synonyms of “Complimentary”?

There are a lot of synonyms for the term “complimentary”. Some of these terms are “appreciative,” “admiring,” “flattering,” “worshiping,” “approving,” “praiseful,” “idolizing,” and etc. These words are related to each other in such a way that these words are used to mean one thing, which is to provide good reviews to one another. Some examples of using one of the synonyms of the term “complimentary” are the following; “His content received a flattering (complimentary) reviews.” and “They give praiseful (complimentary) to the school’s management.” The example sentences used “flattering” and “praiseful” as the synonym of “complimentary,” which means the same thing, to say something that’s very pleasing to someone’s ear. There are other variations of the term “complimentary,” however, one of the most common words is “admiration.” 

How is the pronunciation of “Complementary” and “Complimentary”?

The words “Complementary” and “complimentary” are similar-sounding terms with different meanings; these are homophonic words. The terms “complementary” and “complimentary are pronounced as “K-AA-M-P-L-AH-M-EH-N-T-R-IY.” These words have the same pronunciation, although they differ in meanings and one letter in spelling. It’s very important that aside from having knowledge of their meanings and spellings, content writers must be familiar with how  these words are pronounced. It is very vital not only to think about what a writer says, but how they must say it. It is not enough to have well organized ideas expressed in complete and coherent sentences and paragraphs to communicate effectively. One must think about the style, tone, and clarity of the content, and adapt these elements to the reading audience. Analyzing one’s audience and the purpose of the sentences being constructed are the keys to writing effectiveness. The writer must consider the objective of the documents in order to choose the most effective language, the context in which it is being written, and who’s reading it. 

Comparison between “Complementary” and “Complimentary”

Listed below is the table that shows the comparison between the words “complementary“ and “complimentary.“

English WordsDefinitionContextExample
ComplementaryThe word “complementary” are two different things that form a complete unit when they are brought together, or they combine well with each other.The word “complementary“ is used in combination with something that makes it perfect.“Mary and Joe’s personality are complementary to one another.” 

“Rose and Jack work together because they have complementary goals.”
ComplimentaryThe term “complimentary“ means to express an admiration to someone or something. It is sometimes used to mean free of charge for something or anything. The word “complimentary“ is used in a context to announce appreciation to someone or something.“Mary says complimentary remarks on his colleague’s art work.”

“He received complimentary drinks in the hotel.”

Why are “Complementary” and “Complimentary” misused and interchangeably in English?

The words “complementary“ and “complimentary“ are frequently confused with one another. It is because their sounds are extremely similar to one another when spoken. Their spelling has the slightest difference from one another as well. However, these terms refer exclusively to a different concept in terms of their definitions. The word “complementary” refers to completing something despite certain differences. Meanwhile, the word “complimentary” refers to  declaration of approval or to mean free of charge for anything or something. However, when it comes to their spelling, these words particularly differ with one letter. The term “complimentary” is spelled with an “i,” on the second syllable while the word “complementary,” is spelled with all “e.” on the second and third syllables. The words “complementary“ and “complimentary“ must not be used interchangeably because each term has a certain definition associated with its use. 

Are “Complementary” and “Complimentary” in the most commonly misused English words?

Yes, the words “complementary“ and “complimentary“ are two of the English words that are overused the most frequently in today’s society. People are likely to get these words mixed up due to the fact that they are spelled and pronounced similarly. Content writers apply  these misused English words inappropriately because of the main reason, they do not have enough knowledge on the words being used in content. Learning the distinctions between the terms “complementary” and “complimentary” is the most effective strategy for remembering their difference. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that the term “complementary“ refers to something that is mutual and does works well with one another. On the other hand, the adjective “complimentary“ refers to giving anything away for free and give appreciation to something or someone.

What are the other similar Misused Word Pairs like “Complimentary” and “Complementary” in English?

Listed below are some other similar misused word pairs like “complimentary“ and “complementary“ in English. 

  • “Eminent” vs. “Imminent”: The English terms “eminent” and “imminent” are similar misused words like “complementary” and “complementary.” “Eminent” and “imminent” are spelled in almost the same way just like “complementary” and “complementary.” The only difference is the first vowel and the addition of letter “m” in the “imminent” word. Additionally, the terms “eminent” and “imminent” have slight differences, in terms of the pronunciation. The meaning of the word “eminent” is “distinguished” or “standing out.” Meanwhile, the word “imminent” indicates that an event is very close to taking place.
  • “Flare“ vs. “Flair“: The English words “flare” and “flair” are commonly interchanged terms which are comparable to “complementary” and “complementary.” “Flare” and “flair” are almost alike when it comes to spelling. The sole difference that they have is the vowels used and the arrangement of the last two letters. The pronunciation of “flare” and “flair” are totally similar. On the contrary, the meanings of the words “flare” and “flair” are very far from each other. “Flare” means related to the concept of filing in either a literal or figurative sense. It suggests that something is becoming more widespread. Whereas, “flair“ refers to a particular aptitude or ability, as well as a sense of style.
  • “Perquisite” vs. “Prerequisite”: The terms “perquisite” and “prerequisite” are frequently confused words similar to “complementary” and “complementary.” “Perquisite” and “prerequisite” are often misinterpreted due to their deceiving spelling just like “complementary” and “complementary.” However, these words convey different meanings. The term “perquisite“ is anything that an employee receives in addition to their regular paycheck as part of their employment agreement. Meanwhile, the word “prerequisite“ refers to something that must be met before something else is done.
  • “Ensure” vs “Insure”: The words “ensure” and “insure” are often interchanged in English the same as the words “complementary” and “complementary.” “Ensure” and “insure” are pronounced similarly like “complementary” and “complementary.” Meanwhile, the structure of the words “ensure” and “insure” differ in the letters “e” and “i” particularly. Furthermore, these terms bear varying meanings as well. The term “ensure” means to make certain by summing up. On the other hand, “insure” means to make preparations for financial recompense in the event that something unfavorable occurs.

What are the things a content writer should consider in using the word “Complementary” and “Complimentary”?

The words “complementary” and “complimentary” are commonly misunderstood and used interchangeably in sentences and conversations. The problem with the spelling of the terms is derived from the fact that it is not frequently heard or used in the conversation for someone to say “complementary“ instead of “complimentary.“ However, it must not come as a surprise that there is some level of confusion because of the almost the same spelling that they actually share and how these words are pronounced. The words “complimentary” and “complementary” are spelled out the same for every letter except for two letter placements, an “i“ for the word “complimentary” and an “e“ for the term “complementary”, on the other hand. The first thing a writer must keep in mind is to differentiate them based on how they are spelled. The second step is to be familiar with how to use them in a sentence. The word “Complementary” must be used as a combination of things that works perfectly, while “complimentary” must be used to provide things that are free of charge, or used to say approval words. 

Can content writers use “Complementary” and “Complimentary” in one sentence?

Yes, it is acceptable for content writers to combine the usage of the words “complementary“ and “complimentary“ in a single sentence. The example statement using the words “complementary“ and “complimentary“ is “She received complimentary words about her wedding dress, and the other guests are talking about their complementary personalities.“ The only thing that a writer needs to keep in mind is how to properly utilize the words “complimentary” and “complementary” in a sentence. They must know the placement of each word in order to create quality content. A subject is required in every sentence, and that subject invariably takes the form of a word. The subject of the sentence is a person, place, or thing that is doing or being the action described by the verb in a sentence.

How do Content Writers use “Complementary” and “Complimentary” in their articles?

Content writers use the words “complementary” and “complimentary” by understanding the different types of writing and who they are meant for. It is an essential part of being able to communicate well at work and in life in general. The words like “complementary“ and “complimentary“ are frequently used by content writers to provide something relevant to their audience. The terms “complementary“ and “complimentary“ are being used in the way that they ought to be used in content writing, just like they are being used by other writers. Writers often use the words ”complementary” to mean a combination of something that works perfectly well. Meanwhile, they use “complimentary” to mean someone is giving something away for free or to mean that someone is giving pleasing remarks about something.

Do Content Writers use “Complementary” and “Complimentary” in the wrong way?

No, because, despite what most people think, trained writers do know when and how to use certain words well. However, there are several cases where beginners have used these words incorrectly. It is because these terms are frequently associated among homophones. Homophones are pairs of words that sound or look alike but have different meanings. Writers must have wider ideas and knowledge about the distinctions between the words “complimentary” and “complementary”, so they don’t make the same mistakes twice. They must have a firm grasp of the proper use of the words. Furthermore, the content authors must be able to distinguish them based on their spelling. Since one is spelled with an “i“ and the other with all “e,“ it is simple to distinguish the words apart just by looking at their spelling.

Do Misused Words such as “Complimentary” and “Complementary” affect SEO and UX?

Yes, there are further repercussions for incorrectly using the phrases “complementary“ and “complimentary.“ Google’s page rank potentially changes due to a single grammatical error. The entire meaning of the text is altered by a single grammatical error. Search engine optimization (SEO) takes into account how good the user experience (UX) is. Users are likely to think poorly of a website if it is full of spelling and grammatical mistakes. It’s a risk that means losing customers and, hence, money. The SEO ranking potentially goes down as the user’s opinion of the site’s quality goes down because of grammar mistakes. There is a link between spelling and PageRank, although sentence construction isn’t a direct ranking factor.

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