Back from my vacation, I have been wading through email. One email came right after my previous blog entry, Save Important Tasks for Last, and illustrated it perfectly.
The email was from Tom, who was following up with dozens of contacts he had met at the ASTD Expo in San Diego. Tom’s message included this sentence:
"Please give me a call and let me know which products and services peaked your interest."
Peaked my interest? No, Tom meant to use pique–not peak. Here are definitions and examples:
Pique = provoke, arouse, as in "His comment piqued my curiosity."
Peak = achieve a maximum level, as in "Sales of outdoor gear peaked in June."
Peek = to glance quickly or furtively, as in "I peeked in the conference room, but I didn’t see him."
I wrote to Tom, explaining the piqued error, in case he planned to send the same message to others. He cheerfully responded:
"I am glad I sent my first follow-up to the most appropriate company!"
I was relieved that Tom appreciated my explanation rather than being piqued by it. That’s another use of piqued:
Pique = to cause to feel resentment, as in "Because she had worked so hard for so long, his sudden, easy success piqued her."
Feeling peaked after a long weekend of partying? That’s a different peaked!
Peak = to become or appear sickly, as in "I am feeling peaked after getting caught in that downpour."
If I have piqued your interest in confusing word pairs, you might like my booklet "60 Quick Word Fixes."