How to choose the right word – peak or peek or pique? Here’s an easy way to remember >

twin peaks

I just saw one of my favourite writers write about “to peak interest”.

In that case the correct word should be piqueto arouse interest.

This got me thinking (piqued my interest) about all the different  sorts of “peaks” in English.

Peak – as in the pinnacle, the highest point. A mountain peak.

peek – to look at – often a quick look


pique – to arouse or to stimulate (interest or appetite)

word nerd CU

As a word nerd, I try to use my nerdiness for good – to  help businesses help their writers know how to choose the right words.

I often help create easy-to-remember “prompts” – often simple visual prompts based around the letters in the words or similarity to other words.

For example, to help you remember how to choose the right “peak”:

peAk – think of the peak in the A like a mountain to remember that sort of “peak”.

pEEk – think sEE. That sort of “peak” is when you take a quick pEEk so sEE.

Pique – comes from the French  – which means to prick or to irritate. That “pique” can mean to excite or arouse. It can also mean to annoy. That version of pique “looks” French to me – so I remember that pique as the “fancy, longer version”.


The expression: A fit of pique – is the feisty French version – being annoyed/agitated.

See here for a fuller Definition:

pique definition

I trust these memory cues will help you remember which version of “peak” to use.

Just remember:

When I took a pEEk at the TV show Twin PeAks, it piqued my interest.

twin peaks


If you’d like links to other easy-to-remember prompts to help you choose the right works – take a peek here!

1. sort or sought?

2.course or coarse?

3.bear or bare?

4.whether or weather?


If you notice people in your organisation are confusing their words, I’d love to help.

I can run group training sessions or 1-1 coaching.

I work with lots of smart people who just need some help remembering how to choose the right words.

They are often at the PeAK of their careers. I take a pEEK at their writing and pique their interest in improving their writing by making the sessions memorable and enjoyable.

TB training group

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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.



tony biancotti


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