Guaranteed to improve your English

Even Netflix Isn’t Immune to Caption Confusion

Despite the high price, I pay for Netflix’s streaming and DVD services. I recently finished watching “House of Cards,” and while Kevin Spacey always gives a good performance (he deserved his Emmy nomination), the caption writer(s) did not.

In the fifth episode, a character says that something “peaks my interest.” I naturally thought that was wrong, that what the caption should have read was “piques my interest.”

So I looked up the words.

My dictionary’s definition of the verb peak read in part, “to reach a maximum (as of capacity, value or activity).” This makes it sound like the caption writer(s) got it right.

But the definition continued: “often used with out.”

Peak out? I’ve never heard the word used that way.

Pique, meanwhile, means “to excite or arouse by a provocation, challenge or rebuff.” That sounded right to me, so I was ready to conclude Netflix got it wrong.

But that was the secondary definition. The primary one read: “to arouse anger or resentment; irritate.” That certainly did not fit in with the scene’s mood.

What I learned here was the usage’s context determines what word would be correct. I still think Netflix got it wrong, but I’m not definitive anymore.

Until next time! Use the right words!



August 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: