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The word sic ( Latin sīc , “so”, “really so”; complete: sīc erat scriptum , so it was written ') is used as an editorial supplement , often in square [sic] instead of round brackets (sic)

  • in quotations ,
    • to indicate that an immediately preceding passage in a quotation was correctly quoted, e.g. B. with an adopted misspelling, i.e. not changed by the citing person compared to the original, or
    • in order to highlight a particularity of the cited text and at the same time to make it clear that the citing person is aware of this particularity and that he does not also take over the content position with the cited particularity, but has only adopted it because the original contains it.
      In quotations is sic in square brackets to make it in the same way from the quoted text distinguishable as insertions and deletions that are needed to safeguard a correct word order.
      The particularity identified in this way can be an outdated spelling, a spelling error , a contradiction in terms of content, or the like. Especially withIn scientific texts , “[sic]” can be used to indicate that a source text contains obviously incorrect information . The citing person may not revise or otherwise change this peculiarity , otherwise he would commit a citation error.
  • in print templates to draw the typesetter's or machine setters' attention to a special feature and thus prevent errors.
  • at text passages that could be mistakenly interpreted as errors in order to make it clear that something is meant exactly this way and not otherwise. If such text passages are not quotations, round brackets are used.


The use of this addition “[sic]” is mainly found in academic, especially literary texts. The identification of spellings that are unusual today in the original text is considered proof of precise work; however, it can impair legibility where the spelling is simply outdated and where the difference has no relation to the actual topic of the text.

You can also find “[sic!]” With an exclamation mark or instead of “sic” just an exclamation mark: “[!]”.

You write “[sic?]” Or German “[so?]” With a question mark if you are unsure about the spelling (especially a name) in a manuscript and want to point this out to the corrector .

Sometimes you can find exact quotations in the written text marked as " O-Ton ".

Occasionally, the insert is also used to underline the distancing of the citizen from the quotation in quotations or to emphasize a certain point.

In computer languages , “sic” can be used within a comment . Here, however, the note is explicitly intended for readers and editors of the source text , as the comment is ignored when the resulting compilation is created , processed or displayed.


  • "The Lerer [sic] do it this way." (Reason for sic : not "teacher")
  • "Göthe [sic] is considered to be the most important German poet and outstanding personality in world literature." (Reason for sic : The correct spelling is "Goethe")
  • "He is very far away, but [sic] that doesn't matter." (Reason for sic: The double, however, comes from the original and is not a journalist's mistake.)
  • "As a successful writer, he regularly sold over 100 [sic!] Books a year." (Reason for sic: identification of a content misjudgment [the number is incorrect] or an explicit confirmation of the correct reproduction [neither 10 nor 1000 is meant]. )
  • " Himmelspolizey [sic]" (reason for sic: deliberately chosen deviation from "Himmelspolizei" by the authors of the term)

See also

  • Latin phrases with sic
  • nota bene , Latin for mind you , has a similar meaning to sic , but is used as a common part of a sentence and is rarely put in brackets

Web links

Wiktionary: sic  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Ina Hartwig: Books of cheeky women - The dark and the fun . Quoted from a letter from Gudrun Ensslin . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . March 19, 2010, ISSN  0174-4917 ( [accessed September 9, 2018]).