Grammar Guru: Pique vs. Peek vs. Peak


Even for the Grammar Guru, the English language can occasionally be a confusing one. There are plenty of words which sound the same, but mean completely different things.

There are even words which are spelt the same, but still mean completely different things. Like the word mean, for example.

These are common traps lying in wait for the unsuspecting writer, and here at “The People’s Friend” we see our contributors fall foul of them frequently.

But which one do we spot most often?

Pique vs. Peek vs. Peak

These words are homophones. They sound the same, but interchanging them can lead to some very confusing sentences…

Let’s look at what they mean:

If something were to pique your interest, then you would be motivated to learn more about it. Although this is the most common use of the word pique, it can also mean to be irritated, or to have one’s pride wounded.

If you’re taking a peek at something, you’re glancing at it quickly or surreptitiously — hence the reason it’s frequently combined with the word “sneak”.

If you reach the peak of something, then you are at its summit, whether that be a hill, or a field of expertise — hence the phrase “peak of their powers”.

Simple when you know how!

Read more guidance from the Grammar Guru here.

Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.