Fishing for compliments is an expression meaning to say or do something in an attempt to receive compliments – typically by drawing attention to something they want to be praised for or by criticizing themselves insincerely.
Compliments of is an expression used to identify the source of something that is complimentary (i.e., free). It’s used along with the name of the person or organization from whom the complimentary thing is given.
Worksheet: Complement vs compliment
Test your knowledge of the difference between ‘compliment’ and ‘complement’ by using our practice worksheet below. Fill in either ‘compliment’ or ‘complement’, or a related word, in each sentence.
My teacher rarely offers _______. So when she praised my essay, I was surprised.
I _______ my partner at least once a day.
Each member of the team was a _______ to the others.
The cover of the book really _______ its gothic theme.
The passengers on the plane were given a _______ meal.
Alina paid me a backhanded _______ when she said that my purse _______ my outfit.
My teacher rarely offers compliments. So when she praised my essay, I was surprised.
Here, ‘compliment’ is a noun meaning ‘an expression of praise’.
I compliment my partner at least once a day.
Here, ‘compliment’ is used as a verb referring to the act of expressing praise.
Each member of the team was a complement to the others.
Here, ‘complement’ is correct. In this instance, it is used as a noun to refer to someone or something that completes or works well with someone or something else.
The cover of the book really complements its gothic theme.
Here, ‘complement’ is correct. In this instance, it is used as a verb referring to the act of completing, enhancing, or working well with someone or something else.
The passengers on the plane were given a complimentary meal.
Here, ‘complimentary’ is correct. In this instance it means ‘free’ in reference to goods or services.
Alina paid me a backhanded compliment when she said that my purse complemented my outfit.
In the first instance, ‘compliment’ is used as a noun in the expression ‘backhanded compliment’. In the second instance, ‘complement’ is used to mean ‘complete’ or ‘enhance’. The past simple of ‘complement’ is ‘complemented’.
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