Beyond PR

Sep 16, 2013

Grammar Hammer: To Pique Your Interest

This gorgeous picture was taken by the Grammar Hammer herself.

The Teton Range in Wyoming has 12 peaks that are over 12,000 feet in elevation. The highest peak is the Grand Teton, which has a staggering height of 13,770 feet. The reason I’m bringing this up is that I’ll be spending a couple of weeks visiting family who live in Wyoming, near Grand Teton National Park.

This is a part of the country I’ve not visited before, so naturally, my curiosity is piqued. What sort of animals will we see? How cold will it get being that high above sea level? I decided to take a peek at the website for the Grand Teton National Park and got lots of details on the geology of the mountain range, when the land was officially declared a national park and some key things to see when I visit.

I’ve had several requests to explore the differences between pique, peak, and peek. All three words sound the same, but each word has a distinct meaning.

The two words that are probably most easily confused are peek and peak. Here’s how I keep them straight:

  • Peek – in order to take a peek at something, you need to SEE with your eyes, so SEE and PEEK both have a double-E.
  • Peak – this word takes a couple of different forms. Using “peak” as a noun means “a high point.” Example: I expect to see the peaks of the Teton Mountain Range from the airplane as I’m flying into Jackson. Think of it this way, the peak of a mountain has a peak like the top of the letter “A.” You can also use “peak” as a verb, which means “to reach a high point.” For example: My interest in mountain climbing peaked when I was about 10.

And if all of this has piqued your interest, you’re referring to “pique” which is a French word for “to stimulate.”

Have a grammar rule you’d like me to explore? Drop me a line at

Author Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire.

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