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Note 242 – Definition and Use of the Latin Word [Sic]

Sic is an adverb first seen in English in the mid 19th century, translating to ‘intentionally so written’ according to Wikipedia.  It comes from the Latin adverb sīc meaning ‘thus’, ‘as such’ or ‘in such a manner’ and is pronounced as sick, although Wikipedia suggests that “its Latin ancestor is pronounced more like the English word seek“. 

The word sic usually has square brackets around it, although it can sometimes be used with round brackets (parentheses).  It is placed just after a word or phrase, to show that it was written that way in the original text and not something included or made up.  An example of its use is in a copied quote where you know something is incorrect, but there are other uses.

The sentences below show sic being used to draw attention to a spelling mistake or something grammatically incorrect – by including [sic] after lead and your (which in fact should have been led and you’re), you are indicating that the words have been spelt or written that way in the original:


  • Tim Jones successfully lead [sic] nine projects in 2011.
  • When responding to this offer, your [sic] required to include your name and address.

There are more examples on the use of the word sic, on the Daily Writing tips site in an article called What Does [Sic] Mean? by Maeve Maddox.

Sic is more of an editing word than an everyday word.  Do you use sic in your writing?

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog.

Freelance Writer

About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer



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