Chante Sez … I like free stuff. Do you?

You know those tricky grammar rules that always trip us up? Chante Sez … is here to help.

Once a week, you’ll find a Chante Sez Tip of the Day. Sometimes they’ll be basic — a memory aid for remembering the difference between complimentary with an “i” and complementary with an “e,” for example. Other times, they’ll be more in-depth, pulling on more than 16 years of copy editing experience.

(That 16 years can be put to use for your important projects, by the way, if you ever have need for a proofreader or editor.)

And while I’m from the Chicago area, we’ll be using Associated Press style. No serial commas here, sir!

So, going back to that memory aid I mentioned earlier:

  • Anything free = complimentary with an “i.” As in, I like free stuff. Like cocktails and food. I’m sure you do, too.
  • Anything that embellishes = complementary with an “e.” As in that scarf really complements (embellishes) her outfit.

I’m always up for your suggestions on things to cover in Chante Sez, so feel free to send your questions to, or to @ChanteSez on Twitter.


    1. In the Internet age, where grammar has been whacked over the head, as if by a club, you may need to start with the most elementary stuff. Your vs. you’re. There vs. their vs. they’re. Even something as basic as too vs. to. Worry about affect vs. effect later, to say nothing of infer vs. imply or break vs. brake. You at some point will be called a grammar nazi for worrying over such trivial pursuits, but press on — there’s a language at stake.

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