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What Does Sic Mean in Literature

what does sic mean

What Does Sic Mean in Literature

It’s amazing how much a simple voice inflection can change the meaning of a sentence. For instance, the question “why are you doing that?” is a lot different from “why are you doing that?” The first question inquires about why something is being done. It implies that something wrong is taking place or the actions of the subject should be questioned. the second inquiry questions why the subject of the question is doing something. It implies that the thing being done is alright but the individual doing it is either under qualified or incompetent. It can be difficult to relay spoken words in the form of writing, because some people will naturally confuse the first question for the second. Some people also speak and write in broken English or they may speak in an urban or southern dialogued. When writing these words verbatim, the writer may come across as being uneducated. Fortunately, there’s something called Sic that allows people to write exactly what was said or written without seeming unintelligent.

What Does Sic Mean

Sic is a Latin adverb that means thus it was written. It’s typically written in parenthesis at the end of a direct quote. The term typically implies that the writer is aware of that the text is incorrect in some way. it can also mean the writer disagrees with what was written, or he or she sees fault in the reasoning. Since Sic is a foreign word, it can be written in italics. Sic is in and of itself an independent word, but many people think it’s an abbreviation for something else. However, this is incorrect as all acronyms for the word are actually backronyms.

What does Sic Stand For? Nothing

Some people thing that Sic is an acronym for “spelled in context,” “spelled incorrectly” or “said in copy.” However, all of these terms are English, and the word sic predates them and the entire language. It’s similar to people who tell you the term bible is an acronym for “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth,” even though the Holy bible predates English. Sic is its own word and it’s derived from the term sic erat scriptum.

There is no acronym or abbreviation that’s correct, but attaching a bacronym makes it easier to remember. Sic is commonly used by court stenographers who are required by law to keep each person’s testimony as close to verbatim as possible. Many times, testimony will be reread in court by the stenographer so it’s necessary to keep accurate records. This is especially true in criminal cases where a person may incriminate him or herself, and the prosecutor needs the information to remind the jury of the incriminating words. Likewise, the defense may ask to have the words of a witness read again to show inconsistencies in their testimony. Sic may also be used in civil cases, because both the plaintiff and the defendant will typically testify. The judge has to make a decision and make a judgment based upon what was said. He or she may ask the stenographer to read back certain testimony to get a better idea of who is and isn’t telling the truth.

Further Explaining the Sic Definition

Using Sic simply lets the writer inform any future readers that the words written in the text are the exact words that were written or spoken. However, the use of the word has become controversial as some of the most influential people in the literary field begin to criticize its use. One such person was Leon Edel. The Pulitzer prize award winning critic isn’t alone in his criticism of the word Sic, because many people feel as though it’s completely unnecessary. However, there are instances when using the sic helps the reader understand the passage better.

One of the most famous uses of a sic is when people quote the Constitution of the United States. There is a misspelling that says “The House of Representatives shall chuse their speaker” Anyone who was writing the passage would either have to change the spelling of chuse completely or simply use a sic after the word. Its traditional to place the word within square brackets so the reader understands that it isn’t an actual part of the passage. It would read like “Shall chuse [sic] their …” in order to inform the reader of the misspelling in the original text.

What Does Sic Mean Today

In modern times the word is actually used as a verb as well as a modifier. The verb form of the word is the source of most of the controversy, because it takes the word out of context. The verb sic means to add a sic to a particular piece of literature. This is a term usually preserved for use by those in the US, but there are writers in Canada and the UK that use it as well. There are even some less educate people who would go as far as to use the term “sicced”. While there is no such word, it would be the past tense form of sic if it was indeed a verb. It’s tough to define sic, but it should certainly not be used as a verb. Saying, “I had to sic a certain passage.” Should be expressed as “I applied a sic to a certain passage.” Using sic is already controversial enough without adding fuel to the fire.

The use of sic should be reserved for instances where it’s absolutely imperative to get the spelling and dialects absolutely right. In every other instance, the writer should simply make the necessary corrections to the paper to make it read better. In some ways, using a sic implies an air of superiority which has also added to the controversy. There have been several instances where writers used a sic when a paper was written by someone who spoke English as a second language. It would have been far more appropriate to just make the obvious adjustments which would have actually made the entire paper read better.

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