Word Crimes: Erotica misspellings that bring out my inner dominatrix

In my spare time, I moonlight as an editor. Which is probably why I still find Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” video amusing.

But even if you don’t care much for grammar, spelling, or finding exactly the right word for your purple prose, I think this video calls attention to several Internet writing problems.

For one thing, B, C, R and U are words. As Weird Al points out, you should spell these out unless you’re seven years old – or Prince. I’ve always wondered what people who don’t spell these words out do with all their extra time… but I suspect they don’t watch Weird Al videos.

And I certainly agree with his notion that you should hire “some Cunning Linguist” to edit your work… and not just because that’s the name of my current WIP!

But there are a few of my pet peeves that Al doesn’t mention in this video.

Peek/Peak/Pique

For one, there’s the perplexing inability of erotica writers to properly differentiate between the words “peek” and “peak.” While both are in heavy rotation in this particular genre, some writers seem to have a difficult time figuring out which is which. So here’s the deal:

    • PEEK is for whenever a character needs to sneak a quick look – around a corner, down someone’s overflowing bosom, or even while they think the other person’s back is turned as they undress.
    • PEAK is for whenever you are whipping eggs, cream, or someone’s manly bits to attention. It’s also used when you reach the very top of your mountain, wave, or orgasm.

Clear as crystal?

I hope so.

But let’s not forget a third version of this word, which is even pronounced the same way: PIQUE!

You don’t “peek” or even “peak” someone’s interest, you pique it.

And no, it’s not actually pronounced piqué as if it’s French. If you put the accent on it, the word’s meaning is changed completely, either to meaning “durable ribbed clothing fabric of cotton, rayon, or silk” or “decoration of a tortoiseshell or ivory object with inlaid fragments of gold or silver.” (What a difference an accent aigu makes, eh? This is why I’m so shocked that the French have decided to get rid of the accent circonflexe on many of their words. Que est-ce que c’est, ça?!)

Heels vs. Heals

Here’s another faux pas that drives me to drink:

    • HEELS are shoes – commonly referred to as stilettos, Louboutins, or simply pumps.
    • HEALS is reserved for the medical profession; it’s what doctors and nurses to do you after your BDSM encounters get a little too crazy.

Get it? Got it? Good.

If not, my inner dominatrix will be summoned to beat these misspellings out of you, with a variety of whips and chains.

Or you can just hire me to whip your prose into shape, without all the drama and pain…

Et toi?

What’s the most egregious Word Crimes you’ve encountered? And how did you correct the problem?

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