My name is Rachel and I copy edit for my university’s student paper.  I’ve been copy editing for more than a year and I keep seeing the same mistakes – in the articles, on the Internet, and in academic papers.  This blog is a place for me to post whatever word got mangled most recently, along with the best explanation I can give for correct usage.  I’m trying to be gentle here because I work with a lot of non-native English speakers.

Some of the words actually won’t be English.  I took five years of Japanese language and though there are two different spelling conventions for transliteration into English, and I’ll provide both, sometimes these are the words that stick out to me.

Today’s Word is actually three words: peek, peak, and pique.  All three are verbs and nouns.  The simplified, most common definitions are as follows:

Peek means “to look” as a verb and is “a look” as a noun. 

Peak means “to attain a height of activity” as a verb and is “a mountain-top” or “the crest of something” (a wave, etc.) as a noun.

Pique means “to arouse or excite” as a verb and is “a feeling or fit of irritation or anger” as a noun.  The verb form originally meant to arouse anger, but now can be used with curiosity, excitement, etc.  “A fit of pique” is redundant, but unfortunately common use.

Questions or comments?  Leave a reply. 🙂