Grammar 101 with Michael Kwan

One letter can make a world of difference, especially if the two words sound exactly the same when spoken. This becomes very apparent when it comes to common idioms and phrases. You might remember an earlier Grammar 101 post on the difference between “strike a cord” and “strike a chord.” (The latter is correct.) And so, if you want to talk about an early preview of something, should you call it a sneak peek or a sneak peak?

The term “sneak peek” (or is it “sneak peak”?) is used under a variety of contexts. You could be offered a sneak peek of some upcoming web software, for example, or you may be shown some early footage of an upcoming movie as a “sneak peek” of what’s to come. This early access may involve the full product or it may just include a snippet. In the context of movies, TV shows and video games, the latter is sometimes referred to as teaser.

A peek is a very quick glance at something. To peek (verb) is to look quickly. In this way, this spelling makes perfect sense for the term “sneak peek,” as it is often a very short look at the upcoming product or offering.

A peak, on the other hand, usually refers to the highest point of something. This most commonly comes with the imagery of the top of a mountain where its highest point is its pointed peak. Used figuratively, “peak” can refer to the highest symbolic point of something. The point at which a stock was at its highest price could be called its peak. You could also talk about the peak of the dot com boom or the peak of Wayne Gretzky’s career as a hockey player.

Spelling and grammar matter. Play close attention to your spelling and you’ll continue to ascend to the peak of your blogging career.

A tip of the hat to Spencer for suggesting this topic.