Author Topic: [sic] question  (Read 11136 times)


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[sic] question
« on: February 26, 2010, 07:30:44 AM »
hello Mr. Carillo, I've been reading your postings in this excellent website for more than a year now, reading everything, especially your English grammar lessons/corrections. I cannot lie to you sir, the moment i've read your lessons and articles i've become an instant fan of yours and one of these days i'm going to buy one those books. I would say, you're doing a great job creating this website especially  to those self-taught English learners and future call center agents.

My simple question to you now sir is, I'm not sure if this question has been asked already, what does it mean when we see this "sic" in brackets in articles we come across in our everyday readings?

Please feel free to make the necessary corrections to this posting.


Joe Carillo

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Re: [sic] question
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2010, 02:05:09 AM »
The bracketed notation “sic” in quoted material is used to indicate the intentional verbatim reproduction of an incorrect or unusual word, spelling, phrasing, or grammatical construction. It is meant to highlight the fact that the material is not an error in transcription, typography, or proofreading. The brackets that set off “sic” are meant to indicate that the notation is not an integral part of the quoted material. Usually, the bracketed “sic” is set in italic type, like this: [sic]

Here are the usual uses of the “sic” notation:

1. When quoting verbatim grammatically flawed material from a major government or legal document: 

The introduction to the history of the Philippine Senate says: “Long before the Spanish rulers came to the Philippines, the people in their barangays were already governed by a set of rules by their chief [sic].”
Here, I use the “sic” notation to indicate the flawed and awkward grammatical construction of the phrase “were already governed by a set of rules by their chief.” It’s my way of indicating that I’m not responsible for the bad grammar of the phrase.

Assuming that I’m actually making a grammar critique of that sentence, I probably would suggest the following correction right after:

“Long before the Spanish rulers came to the Philippines, the people in their barangays were already governed by a chief who strictly enforced a set of communal rules.”

2. When faithfully reporting an uncommon or archaic usage:

The biographical movie, which starred Will Smith in the title role, was entitled The Pursuit of Happyness [sic].

The “sic” notation here—I didn’t italicize it because the term being “sicced” is already in italics—is meant to indicate that I’m aware that the spelling of “happyness” departs stylistically from the standard “happiness,” and is not to be construed as a spelling error. It is also meant to alert typesetters, proofreaders, and copyeditors that the unusual spelling should be left uncorrected.

3. When one would like to ridicule or question the judgment of the author or source of a doubtful or flawed quoted material:

Would you believe, that job applicant with a PhD in comparative literature wrote this sentence in his application letter: “After nine years of teaching the European literary classics at the Sorbonne, I quitted [sic] my tenured job to accept a professorial chair at Harvard University.”

That would be a way of indicating one’s misgivings or contempt for the doubtful English proficiency of that highly experienced professor, for the irregular, uninflected past-tense “quit” is more commonly used than the regular past-tense form “quitted.” This latter form isn’t grammatically wrong, but in academic and professional circles, the clause in question is expected to be normally be written as “I quit my tenured job to accept a professorial chair at Oxford University.”


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Re: [sic] question
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2010, 01:07:21 PM »
Sic is a Latin word which means "as such" or "said as such" of the Latin symbols or abbreviations used in footnotes or in referencing. Other Latin symbols under this category is Ibidem (Ibid.) meaning "same as above", or "same reference", opere citato (op. cit), and Loco Citato (loco citato), meaning "and here and there"...

There are also new "backronyms for "sic", making it stand for "said incorrectly", or "said in context".

In journalistic writing, when quoting speakers directly, authors put this "sic" symbol indicating "strange constructions".  ::) For me, this could be offending. :'( .

To the journalists in this forum:
Why do some writers stick to the original text or speech (thus using "sic"), when it is more polite to present the corrected form especially in public broadsheets?

madgirl :-*