Complement vs Supplement

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What’s the difference between them?

Complement

Meaning:

A complement is something that completes or enhances something else, making it better, more attractive, or more useful.

Examples:

1. The elegant necklace was the perfect complement to her evening gown, enhancing her overall look.

2. The author decided to complement the novel with additional chapters to provide more background information about the characters.

3. The new furniture set was chosen to complement the existing decor of the room, creating a harmonious and balanced atmosphere.

Supplement

Meaning:

Supplement means to add something to something else, but it won't neccessarily make improvements.

Examples:

1. Athletes often take vitamin supplements to ensure they get the necessary nutrients for peak performance.

2. A good cup of coffee can be a wonderful supplement to a delicious piece of chocolate cake.

3. To improve his fitness routine, Mark decided to supplement his gym workouts with daily runs in the park.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Complement

1. Accompany

2. Supplement

3. Enhance

4. Round out

5. Add to

1. Disparage

2. Oppose

3. Contrast

4. Denigrate

5. Counterbalance

Supplement

1. Addition

2. Enhancement

3. Reinforcement

4. Accompaniment

5. Extra

6. Augmentation

7. Extension

8. Ample

9. Top up

10. Bolster

1. Detract

2. Discourage

3. Subtract

4. Negate

5. Deficiency

6. Withhold

7. Lower

8. Reduce

9. Impair

10. Deplete

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Complement", "Supplement".

1. A mnemonic phrase to help remember the difference is 'A complement completes, a supplement adds'.

2. Complement is a noun and means something that completes or brings to perfection.

3. Supplement is a verb and means to add something to complete a thing or to make up for a deficiency.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

Learn the difference

Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the word 'complement' be used?

Complement is used to describe something that enhances or makes something else complete. For example, two complementary colors that look great together or a food dish that is complemented with a specific sauce. It is also used to describe two things that are opposite but still work well together, such as someone's strengths and weaknesses being complementary.

When is the appropriate context for using the word 'supplement'?

Supplement is used to describe something that is added to something else to enhance or improve it. It is often used to refer to a dietary supplement that is taken to provide additional nutrients to the body. It is also used to refer to an additional resource or material that can help to supplement a primary resource or material. The main difference is that if 'supplement' is removed from something, that thing won't be worse.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, the two words do not share the same pronunciation. Complement is pronounced (com-PLEMENT) while supplement is pronounced (sup-PLEMENT).

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One of the most common mistakes people make when using these words is using them interchangeably. While both words refer to something that is added to enhance or complete something else, there is a distinct difference between the two words. Complement is used to refer to two items that are opposite, but still work well together, while supplement is used to refer to something that is added to something else to improve or enhance it.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. Taking a yoga class will ______________ your regular exercise routine.

2. When a restaurant offers an extensive wine list, it is meant to ______________ the meal.

3. A good ______________ to your daily vitamin regimen is a multivitamin.

4. A healthy diet should ______________ your need for vitamin supplements.

5. We decided to ______________ our dinner with a few appetizers.

6. Adding a few plants will ______________ the decor of your living room.

1. Taking a yoga class will complement your regular exercise routine.

Explanation: The word complement means to complete or add to something, making it better or more suited. Taking a yoga class in addition to a regular exercise routine can improve ones overall fitness and health.

2. When a restaurant offers an extensive wine list, it is meant to supplement the meal.

Explanation: The word supplement means to provide additional support or to add something to something else. An extensive wine list in a restaurant can be offered to provide an additional level of enjoyment, flavor, and sophistication to the meal.

3. A good supplement to your daily vitamin regimen is a multivitamin.

Explanation: The word supplement means to provide additional support or to add something to something else. A multivitamin is often taken to provide an additional level of vitamins and minerals to the body that may not be found in a daily vitamin regimen alone.

4. A healthy diet should supplement your need for vitamin supplements.

Explanation: The word supplement means to provide additional support or to add something to something else. Eating a healthy diet can help provide the body with the vitamins and minerals it needs, supplementing the need to take additional vitamin supplements.

5. We decided to supplement our dinner with a few appetizers.

Explanation: The word supplement means to provide additional support or to add something to something else. Additional appetizers can be used to supplement a dinner, providing extra flavor, texture, and enjoyment to the meal.

6. Adding a few plants will complement the decor of your living room.

Explanation: The word complement means to complete or add to something, making it better or more suited. Adding a few plants to a living room can enhance the overall look of the decor and provide an attractive additional element.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.