Friday, October 28, 2011

The Grammarian's Victory Sign

For those who don't know what "[sic]" means, here is a situation when it would be used. Suppose one is directly quoting another: "He said your almost near the interstate." The horror of horrors, the person made a mistake. What is the grammarian to do? He can't go into the quote and correct it by substituting "you're" for "your". That would be misleading and untruthful.

The grammarian also can't simply sit back and let it go or else people will think the grammarian had actually made the mistake. What should be done is this: "He said your [sic] almost near the interstate." This lets people know that the mistake was not made by the grammarian.

This serves two purposes. First, it lets everyone know the grammarian didn't screw up; it was the person quoted who screwed up. It's bad enough the grammarian had to witness such an atrocity, but to have people believe the grammarian did it is unthinkable and a rank obscenity.

The second purpose is to let the grammarian feel superior. It gives the grammarian a way to express snideness through this editing technique. It proves there [sic] superiority and lets the grammarian feel better about himself.

It's like a victory sign for the grammarian.

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