[globaloutlookDH-l] When citing emails, do people silently correct typos?

Daniel O'Donnell daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca
Sat Feb 1 11:21:45 MST 2014

I have a question for advice from this group that might have political 

In an article I'm about to submit, I cite a number of discussions on 
this list and humanist about the use of language, especially English. 
The authors are both native English speakers and non-native speakers 
and, as is typical in emails, there are a number of small typos. 
solecisms, and the like.

Currently, I have a note at the first citation indicating that "as is 
normal in as conversational a medium as email correspondence, the quoted 
passages have small typographical errors and other solecisms. These have 
not been corrected or otherwise noted." My reason for this is that I 
don't want to put in a lot of sic or corrections in square brackets. 
Although I'm a terrible typo offender myself, the case can be more 
politicised it seems to me when dealing with non-native speakers. I'm 
uncomfortable acting either as judge or, worse, in my case, calling 
attention to "errors"--especially since I think they are really more 
issues of register than actual errors.

I could silently correct them, of course, as well, but I don't like that 
either, in case what I think is an obvious correction turns out to 
misrepresent something.

What do other people think? I've seen /sic/ used before as a form of ad 
hominem attack and so I generally really hate using it if I can avoid 
it. But since it also seems nuts to pepper the correspondence with 
square brackets (and since that could have the same effect as a lot of 
sics), I don't want to do that either.

Is there a better solution than simply flagging the register difference, 
as I currently do?

Daniel Paul O'Donnell
Professor of English
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4

+1 403 393-2539

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