know your idioms! or, idiomatic for the people.
hey, if it’s the hardest lesson for english language learners (i.e. those for whom english is a second, third, fourth language) to learn, it is understandable how many people get them confused, particularly now that we write much more on a daily basis for a wider audience, ala internet machine.
it happens to be both a curiosity of mine to know the background of idioms; it also happens to be a more-than-mild-grammar-snob annoyance when i see them repetitiously butchered in print. what can i say, i’m an editor/teacher/nitpicky high-horser who likes language (like, LIKE-likes. you know what i mean). but if you were never taught, how do you even know it’s wrong? you don’t. knowing is half the battle, like g.i. joe says, but in this case, the other half is editing your words before you click ‘publish’ versus, say, red and blue lasers.
i’m certainly not going to nit-pick everything, because SERIOUSLY PEOPLE – i’m not that girl. i don’t even capitalize “correctly”; obviously, i don’t get all that grumpy.
but, i notice.
lesson for today:
if something catches your eye, you want to say that it
piques your interest.
the word pique comes from the french language (as does a large, and i mean LARGE amount of our english vocabulary). the french word is piquer, which literally means ‘to prick’.
many idioms can be arrived at (or checked) by just looking at it with some common sense, but certainly not all. something peeking your interest makes no sense. you could reasonably sort out “peaking your interest”, as it connotes a rise in interest. however, you would say that you peak someones interest, rather than peak-ing, which isn’t really a word.
so there you are, your idiom for the weak.
see what i did there? 😉 if i were an 80’s band, i’d be grammarama, for sure.
since we’re on this pique/peek/peak business, when you say you want to look at something, you use “peek”. how to remember that? peak = mountain. if you aren’t talking about something big, or mountain-like, best bet is you need “peek”. homonyms will get you every time.