When considering whether to use compliment or complement, we suggest you turn to everyone’s favorite spooky show, The TXT-Files.
Agent Folder: Check this out, Skulky. A successful entrepreneur was offering advice in a column for a business publication and here’s what he said: “Recognize your weaknesses and inexperience, and ensure your leadership team compliments you.”
Agent Skulky: What’s your point, Folder?
Folder: Compliment, with an “i,” Skulky.
Skulky: Yeah, and… He clearly thinks a leader needs a team who will boost his ego by flattering him to compensate for his weaknesses and inexperience. There’s no case there.
Folder: After all you’ve seen, after all this time, don’t you know that you have to read between the lines? He meant complement with an “e.” He thinks a leader should get a team whose strengths and experience will compensate for his shortcomings.
Skulky: That’s crazy, Folder. The man wrote compliment with an “i.” He meant compliment with an “i.” You always come up with these crackpot theories about fringe, unprovable stuff like (Agent Skulky makes air quotes and rolls her eyes) typos and homophones, when spell check has eradicated all writing mistakes. We don’t have to edit any more.
Folder: No, Skulky, don’t you see? Spell check has lulled us into a false sense of security that makes us lazy. First we stopped getting another person to proof our writing. Then we stopped re-reading our own work. Soon we’ll devolve to thwacking the keyboard with flipper-like appendages and expecting spell check to sort out our meaning. It will destroy our ability to reason – the very characteristic that makes us human. Don’t let that happen, Skulky. Don’t let spell check take away our humanity!
Skulky: You might be overreacting a little.
Folder: I might be. But we should still check our work for usage and grammar problems, because spell check doesn’t check those.
Skulky: It can’t be that important. The government couldn’t hide such a big problem.
Folder: No? On the way in to work, a man handed me a sales flyer that says his computer services offer clients “piece of mind.” Piece with an “ie,” Skulky.
Skulky: So he gives his clients bits of brain. What’s your problem?
Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].