Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
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March 5, 2008

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Using [sic]

  • March 5, 2008, 11:28am


By now you have most likely finished your thesis. Therefore, my suggestions are an afterthought. Although, you may consider using this advice for later writings. However, other students reading this may learn from it.

The very word "academic" requires that any thesis or dissertation be of excellence. If your professor doesn't demand excellence, then get your money back and go to a more qualified school. :-)

In a term paper, thesis, or dissertation, always:

(1) Use "[sic]" in a quote if it is not your mistake. Furthermore, the word "sic" should be italicized within the brackets. If you have to use "[sic]" in several quotes throughout your paper, then the authors of those works should not be used for academic papers. You should limit your usuage of "[sic]"; however, it is not obnoxious in such papers.

(2) Forget any advice that suggests you change the word in the author's quote. In academia, this is plagiarism. And, you are liable for misquoting another's work. Regardless, if it is a simple mistake or a big one, leave his quote "as is," then use the "[sic]".

(3) Forget about embarrassing the quoted author. Most writers would be saddened by such a simple mistake, but they will appreciate that the student caught it. So, ignore such advice. It has no room in academia. (Political Correctness (PC) should be left to the politicians. Even then, PC is deceptive and should never be used.) In academic papers, state and defend your position. Don't be worried about "offending" someone else.

Isaac: Remember, this is your thesis, and it will reflect on your knowledge and abilities way after your schooling ends. Excellence now, brings about excellence later.

A.A. Bernal