Submitted by katlike on January 7, 2005

[sic]

I have always wondered what [sic] means. The most recent example I have seen was: ‘I supposed I could write a couple of thousands [sic] words on that trip . . . But I spare you.’ I have run across it in different contexts and never really understood what it meant. Thanks

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Allison is an unusual spelling? I've been under the impression that it's the usual spelling...

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I can't remember the literal Latin meaning offhand, but it is used when something looks like a mishtake [sic], but was actually intended that way. In the example above, the author was probably quoting someone else, and inserted [SIC] to show that the grammatical error (THOUSANDS) was in the original quotation.

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Yes, it is only used in a direct quotation. You can also use "[sic]" to avoid confusion. Suppose you had a quotation in which someone wrote an ellipsis (like this quote from a friend's e-mail):

"Well... maybe if you want to... we can go eat at that new Thai place tonight."

Normally the ellipsis (the three dots) are used within a quotation to show omitted material. But my friend used them to show a pause in thought. So to avoid confusion when quoting the material, I could write this:

"Well... [sic] maybe if you want to... [sic] we can go eat at that new Thai place tonight."

I think but I'm not absolutely sure (and I'm too lazy to look it up since Christ it's early) that it's Latin for "such."

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Someone else told me it means "thus," although I remember it with the mnemonic "Spelling In Context."

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Noah, you're correct... "sic" means "thus" or "so" in Latin.

I know why I thought it meant "such." It does... if you're speaking the Doric (Aberdonian Scots). Let this be a lesson to me to not try to speak two languages at one time. Heh. :)

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It's used when you're quoting someone and something they have said is grammatically incorrect (or in the case of print, possibly spelled incorrectly). You use it to indicate that the error is theirs, not yours, and that you are just quoting them. Probably any Bush quote includes at least three instances of it (or maybe reporters don't even need to use it anymore, in his case).

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It should be noted that it doesn't ALWAYS have to be used in a quote. SIC can be used any time something looks out of place, e.g. if a particular word or name is spelled unusually and there is the possibility of confusion.

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I've never seen it used outside of a quote, Dave. Can you point me to an example?

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you use (sic) when you are quoting someone and they have made a mistake or grammatical error, to show that the error was from the quote, and not in the re-writing of the quote.
not sure exactly what it means but i use "said in context" or "spelling in context" to help remember

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You may be writing about someone whose name has an unusual spelling. I have a friend called Allison [sic], for example.

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use [sic] after "ain't", "if it was" or "me" when it should be "I".

'Tis fine if you wanna use either [sic], [sick] or [sick usage].

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....so the [SIC] comes after the error! no?

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Yes.

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Not necessarily an error, either -- could be something that just appears to be an error, but is in fact correct, as in the example I gave.

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