The Latin adverb sic ("thus"; in full: sic erat scriptum, "thus was it written") inserted after a quoted word or passage, indicates that the quoted matter has been transcribed exactly as found in the source text, complete with any erroneous or archaic spelling, surprising assertion, faulty reasoning, or other matter that might otherwise be taken as an error of transcription.

The notation's usual purpose is to inform the reader that any errors or apparent errors in quoted material do not arise from errors in the course of the transcription, but are intentionally reproduced, exactly as they appear in the source text. It is generally placed inside brackets to signal that it is not part of the quoted matter.

Sic may also be used derisively, to call attention to the original writer's spelling mistakes or erroneous logic.

Alternatively, when both the original and the suggested correction are desired to be shown (as they often are in palaeography), one may give the actual form, followed by sic in brackets, followed by the corrected form, preceded by recte, in brackets. The word recte is a Latin adverb meaning "rightly".

An Iraqi battalion has consumed [sic] [recte assumed] control of the former American military base, and our forces are now about 40 minutes outside the city.

According to the Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music Style Sheet, there should be no punctuation, for example no colon, before the corrected word when using recte. Sometimes only sic and the correction are in the bracket, becoming as in the last example "[sic assumed]" (i.e. recte is omitted).


A third alternative is to follow an error with sic, a comma or colon, "read", and the correct reading, all within square brackets, as in the following example:

'Plan of space alongside Evinghews [sic: read Evening News] Printing Works and overlooked by St. Giles House University Hall'

See also