#WhyWriteWrong – To Peek or Not to Peek


Haven’t done a Why Write Wrong post in some time and would like to get back on track with them, so I’m taking a moment tonight to talk about three words that I see misused fairly often, especially the third: Peek, peak, and pique. These words are not interchangeable, though in the last week, I have seen all three misused in a series I’ve been reading, and more than once, at that. Let’s take a look at them.

Though all three are pronounced exactly the same way, they are very different in meaning, to wit:

Peek is to take a quick look at something, perhaps in a sneaky manner. He peeked at the answers to his homework assignment. If what you want to say deals with the way your character is looking at something, you want PEEK.

Peak is usually used to reference the summit  or highest point of something. The peak of the mountain was covered with snow. Or perhaps: The whipped cream was mounded on the top of the pie in fluffy peaks. It could also work for a summit a bit less tangible, like: The child actor’s popularity peaked when she was a mere eight years of age.

Pique is definitely the one misused most often. Pique is a state of irritation or resentment. It can also be used to indicate  the rousing of curiosity. Her spiteful tone left him in a fit of pique. Or: His curiosity was piqued by the mysterious letter. So this one deals with emotions, and has nothing to do with peeking through a crack in the door, or climbing to the peak of the jungle gym.

Now, have I piqued your curiosity enough to wonder if your blinds are pulled, so no one can peek in your windows and discover you’re the annoying neighbor playing your stereo at peak volume? (Oh, even I’M groaning that one!) But you get my drift. And I hope this helps clear up any confusion about these three words.

Signing off now. As you were, folks! 😀

31 thoughts on “#WhyWriteWrong – To Peek or Not to Peek

      • Further and farther give me pause. English is a ridiculous language, I can’t imagine being a second language learner with all the homophones and idioms.
        Spell correct is not always beneficial either with these issues. I accidentally published a story with the name Ernest spelled Earnest, but I have just let it go and that’s how he spells it, because he honestly is earnest.

        Liked by 3 people

        • It is pretty tricky, indeed, and I may do my next post on the difference between further and farther, thanks. 🙂 But really, I’m just glad we don’t assign gender to inanimate objects. 😯 Think how much worse we could screw it all up! 😀 😀 😀


    • Hahaha. I love it. I wonder how many other people I can push into Rantdom before the day’s over? 🙂 And if you are talking about definitions here, I can absolutely agree. Nothing makes me madder than to find out a dictionary has decided that since so many people are using a word INCORRECTLY, they should change the definition to fit. GAH!!! Now THAT is annoying. And stupid. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

          • I wouldn’t mind, but it’s not just the ‘u’, there’s a whole load of other words it insists on changing!
            The other thing it does drives me crazy too. Right in the middle of what I am typing, it just stops appearing on the screen. I have nearly posted things with yawning great holes!

            Liked by 1 person

            • I was just kidding about the “u,” and I do know there are lots of differences between spellings in American English and English English. 😉 Gray and grey come to mind right away. Mostly, spellcheck just underlines mine in red (in Word, at least) and doesn’t actually make the change for me, so that’s not too bad. But the only time I’ve had the words stop appearing has been when I’m typing online, and for some reason, it can’t keep up with me. If I just stop and wait, the missed words eventually show up, and it’s caught up to me again. And sometimes, missed letters and words are the fault of a sticky keyboard, too. That may or may not be what’s happening to you you, though.

              Liked by 1 person

    • Just doing my small part for literacy everywhere. 😀 Seriously, I’m amazed at how many times I see words misused in published books that are otherwise a cut above the norm. Even some pretty well-known books/authors aren’t error-free these days. At least that makes me feel better when I discover errors that have slipped by in mine, which I have to go back and correct. Luckily, being self-published, I have the option to do that. Not likely to happen in a traditionally published book.

      What a complicated world we are immersed in, eh?

      Liked by 2 people

    • I know. I’ve seen that before, too. The entire English language could be called a trap for the unwary, couldn’t it? But if we want to write, we have to learn this stuff, and then keep an eye out for anything that might slip by in our work. It’s not easy, but I think it’s worth it in order to produce something we can be proud of.

      Why Write Wrong is supposed to be a weekly feature here, but everything got turned upside down after the hurricane hit us, so I’m just getting back to it. Hope you’ll stay tuned for more, Audrey, and thanks for stopping by today. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Marje. I did several of them last year on some words that I see misused very frequently. (You can do a search for Why Write Wrong at the top of the page, if you’d like to see what they were. Things like bait/bate, and wreak/wreck.)

      There is a subtle but important distinction between further and farther. I will definitely do a post on that within a few days, I promise. 😀 Thanks for taking time to check today’s post out! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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