English is amazing!
It is confusing. It is aggravating. It is ever changing and allows for sentences like:
All the faith he had had had had no effect on the outcome of his life.
This post is about something I covered before, called homophones. For those not familiar with what a homophone is, they are words that sound the same but are spelt differently and mean different things. Examples of homophones are: be/bee, buy/by/bye/bi, sun/son, their/there/they’re… so on and so forth.
In this post we’re looking at the homophones peak, peek, and pique.
I while back when I was editing my first book I came to realize that pique was a real word. For the longest time I’d been writing ‘peaked my interest’ or ‘peeked my interest’- both clearly wrong. I discovered this because when I am filled with self-doubt I Google for answers and make discoveries like how I’VE BEEN A FOOL ALL THIS TIME…
It’s all right, I accept I’m not perfect and I am human. So, as there are 7 billion other humans on this planet I’m certain this post will help at least a handful of you.
Onto the main point of this post. Being that peek, peak, and pique are homophones they do not mean the same thing. They all sound the same but when examined closer their definitions are very different:
PEEK means “to look secretly” or “a look to avoid any attention“.
She peeked over her shoulder.
The children peeked around the corner.
He had a habit of peeking through people’s windows.
PEAK means “the highest point” or “to reach the max” or “maximum“.
They reached the mountain’s peak.
The teacher’s patience was at its peak.
The car peaked at 200 kph before its engine blew.
PIQUE means “to arouse/ excite” or “resentment“.
The teacher piqued the student’s interest when she mentioned the field trip.
Super heroes easily pique people’s attention.
English really piques my interest.
You cannot replace peek with peak in a sentence. You cannot replace peak with pique in a sentence. If you do, it will not make sentence.
For example how not to use the words:
He took a pique around the corner. (It is supposed to be peek!)
She climbed the tallest peek. (It should be peak!)
This article peeked my interest. (The word is pique!)
^DO NOT DO THIS! THESE DO NOT MAKE SENSE!!^
Now, I wouldn’t be a good blogger or a good teacher if I didn’t have a way to help you remember the right way. The best thing I found to remember the differences between these pesky homophones is this mnemonic device found Vocabulary.com:
You have to reach to gain the peak.
If you peer at something, you are peeking.
And if you’re piqued about something, there’s usually a question in your mind about it.
Or, if that isn’t going to help you out maybe write a blog post about it, (that’s what I did). That of course is just a suggestion.😛