As a child, I was a horrible student of grammar.
Past participles, dangling modifiers, prepositions - it was all garbage to me.
From my 7th grade perspective, I needed to know how to read and how to write - but grammar was sheer fluff. Like Latin.
Little did I know grammar manages the mechanics of the language I love so dearly. Over time, I've discovered the nuances of the English language, and feel quite comfortable navigating the rules of grammar.
Sometimes I don't know why the rule exists (or even what it is), but I know there's a reason why a phrase sounds better written one way and not another.
It's a little bit like when a prodigy knows how to play classical piano without having any understanding of music theory.
I should state at this juncture that in no way am I am a prodigy where the English language is concerned.
Quite the contrary.
My love of vocabulary and language have brought on a crop of pet peeves, one of which I'll share with you today.
I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE INCORRECTLY USE 'SNEAK PEAK' IN PLACE OF 'SNEAK PEEK.'
Sorry for the shouting, but it's the kind of thing I want to exclaim from a mountaintop.
Which is exactly what you're talking about when you use 'sneak peak.'
To give someone a 'sneak peek' is to offer them a preview, an early glance, a secret look ahead.
When mentioning 'sneak peak,' you are talking about a secretive mountain, as PEAK refers to the top of a mountain or ridge.
Now, here's the little trick I discovered to remember the difference.
Put the words in all caps.
The second version (the one about the secretive mountain) has a capital A in it. Imagine that capital A is a big, snowy mountain in the Alps - the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc - whichever mountain you prefer. Take a long hard look at that A. See how the top half, the part above the crossbar, is snowy and white? And can't you just picture little Alpine skiers whooshing down both sides of that jagged mountain?
Can't you taste the gluhwein at some cozy chalet at the foot of the mountain (hat tip to Julie)?
Next time you write 'sneak peak,' think long and hard about that secretive mountain in the Alps, and the skiers who don't want you to spill their secret.
And then, type 'sneak peek.'
Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.