Friday, April 15, 2016

[Sic] Happens

As a student and a writing consultant, I’m always learning how I can improve my writing. This semester, I learned that [sic] happens--specifically, I learned how and why [sic] happens. I’ve come across [sic] as a reader, but I’ve never taken the time to find out what it really means.

Recently, I quoted passages from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in my Capstone paper. If you haven’t read The Road . . .
          a. You should.
          b. McCarthy intentionally omits apostrophes from most contractions in the work.

For example, one passage reads, “You should thank him you know . . .  I wouldnt have given you anything” (McCarthy 173).

When including a quote in your paper, it’s important to write the passage exactly as it appears in the original work, and indicate any changes (capitalization, punctuation, etc.) by placing brackets around them. In this paper, I preferred to leave McCarthy’s intentionally unpunctuated contractions alone. Someone who hasn’t read The Road may believe I made a hasty error when typing McCarthy’s words. To clarify that I copied McCarthy’s passage exactly as it appears in the novel, I include [sic] after the unpunctuated contraction:

“You should thank him you know . . . I wouldnt [sic] have given you anything” (McCarthy 173).

According to Purdue OWL, sic is a Latin term for “so” or “thus” and should be used to indicate that you are presenting the quoted material exactly as it appears in the original work. Sic tells your readers that you haven’t made a typo; you have paid careful attention to the original author’s wording.

Just a few days after learning how and why to use [sic] in one of my papers, I had the opportunity to share this information in a writing consultation. Sharing what I’ve learned with others students is rewarding, and it strengthens my writing skills as well.

You can find more information on using [sic] and brackets at this link.


Work Cited
McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Vintage, 2006. Print.

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