Sneak Peek Misuse Reaches New Peaks

The English language is filled with words that rhyme but having entirely different spellings. Rhyme time rarely involves a neat beat. Why am I mentioning this? It's enjoyable to get a 'sneak peek' at something, so don't ruin the experience by incorrectly describing it as a 'sneak peak'.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

It's an understandable mistake to make. Both 'peek' and 'peak' are valid English words, and having typed 'sneak' it's all too easy to repeat the pattern and type 'peak'. That doesn't make 'sneak peak' (or 'sneek peek') acceptable. 'Sneak peek' is the only correct version. You're checking something out in advance, not climbing to the top of it.

Need a trick to remember this? When you look at something, you peek at it. Repeated vowels are what you need in both cases.

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


    Though i too am a stickler for correct English, i cant help but enjoy the idea of clandestine mountaineering.

    its a good thing that the Stealth Mountain is on the case!

    Quite right, Angus. Illiteracy, ignorance and laziness seems to go hand in hand. To me, the worst part is that so few people seem to care about the rapidly declining standards of written [and spoken] English.

    Instead of like & dislike buttons on articles and blogs, we need one labelled 'Bad grammar', 'Spot the mistake', 'Somebody please edit this article', or something to that effect. Some method of giving the author feedback that might help them improve their literacy.

      It's even worse on on-line news sites... I swear the journalists a barely trained monkeys - nineMSN are the worst, in my experience.

      You have to read the same paragraph 48 times before you still can't work out what the hell they're trying to say.

    Back when I used to do quite a lot of hill walking (back in a country that had proper hills) "Sneak Peak" was the name we gave to false summits.

    Nice article, Angus. Really peaked - sorry, "peeked" - my interest.

      *Sigh* here's another one. You mean "piqued".

        I do indeed, and looked to have induced a fit of it, as well. Multi-lingual homonyms are fun!

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