The following direct quotes from recent articles – one about an inscription in Abraham Lincoln’s watch; the second, a statement from a gospel singer accused of assaulting his ex-wife; and the third, words from a former politician – have nothing in common, except as examples of the use of the parenthetical “sic.”
"Jonathan Dillon April 13 - 1861," part of the inscription reads, "Fort Sumpter (sic) was attacked by the rebels on the above date." Another part reads, "Thank God we have a government."
"To be accused of these allegations, which arose out of a child custody right [sic] dispute and my desire to spend time with our children as court ordered, is nothing less than heart wrenching."
Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum recently declared, "I really do believe that the fundamentals of American economy is [sic] still strong."
The insertion of “sic” is a journalism tool, and one I’ve found is rarely understood, so I thought I’d take a moment to enlighten.
The term “sic” is Latin for “thus” and is inserted into direct quotes to indicate the error preceding it is not that of the article writer, typesetter or copy editor.
In the examples, the correct words, of course, would have been “Fort Sumter,” “custody rights” and the verb “are” instead of “is.” The iron-clad rule is: direct quotes must not be altered, despite obvious errors.
BJ writes, “Have a good weak (sic).”