What the Heck Does [Sic] Mean?

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If you are an avid reader or just a Sunday morning browser, I’m pretty sure you have seen this [sic] before. So what does it mean? Caution, you could offend someone by sicing (?) them.

For instance,

“If you’re reading an article (a great habit to keep, by the way) in which the author is quoting another writer or citing a title, you might see the word [sic] inserted somewhere in the text:

The cartoonist cast back to another strip he had drawn in 1972 as a contribution to a compendium called Funny Aminals (sic).
— David H. VanBiema, People, 27 Oct. 1986″

Note the spelling error, aminals. Sic usually , “appears in parentheses or brackets, sometimes with the letters in italics. In this context it means “intentionally so written.” On its own, sic means “so” or “thus” and can be found in phrases such as sic transit gloria mundi (“so passes away the glory of the world”) and sic semper tyrannis (“thus ever to tyrants,” the motto of the state of Virginia).

What is denoted by sic is that the word or phrase that precedes it occurs in the original passage being quoted or name being used and was not introduced by the writer doing the quoting. Sometimes the quoted text contains an error of grammar or spelling, but other times it might not contain an error at all, but some kind of language or phrasing that might be unexpected.

In the instance above, the comics collection is facetiously titled Funny Aminals, with the consonants of the familiar word animals transposed. The insertion of sic indicates that the title has not been altered or corrected for VanBiema’s article, nor was it an error introduced by VanBiema.”

So it was an intentional error after all. Did the writer quoting the reference know this, or was he just pointing out an “obvious” error. Caution. Some authors are quite protective of their essays and may take offense at some unappreciated correction. But now you know what [sic] means. Right?

Source: How to Use ‘Sic’ | Merriam-Webster (merriam-webster.com)

Author: Dennis Hickey

There are no limits to success to those who never stop learning. I want to help you succeed by sharing what I have learned about life skills. Knowing these skills can nourish your personal growth. I hope you enjoy this blog, and visit often so you keep learning too!

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