Writer/editor John Rambow grouses:
Here’s my pet peeve–the misuse of compliment vs. complement. In most cases it’s “compliment” that gets (mis)used–hats are forced to compliment the rest of your clothes, fries compliment burgers, etc.
Even New York magazine drops the ball on this one. The writer could, I suppose, argue that this non-alcoholic cider is a “gesture of affection” toward the hard stuff but either way it’s BAD.
As John notes, a compliment (with an i) is a gesture of affection. A complement enhances something or, to use the dictionary definition, “brings it to perfection.”
Which means that the free mimosa complements your meal (or your morning). Bags complement shoes. I compliment your beauty because, of course, it complements my wit and skill.
What’s your pet peeve?