I'm writing an analysis of a poem and want to quote nonconsecutive lines. Is there a specific way to do this, or would I just use an ellipsis and no slash?
There are three authors involved here:
- The author of the original quote
- The author who quoted #1 and added the first "[sic]"
- The author who is writing the final document (you)
Let's deal with the easy case: If your intent is to quote author #1, simply remove the offending '[sic]'. This omission does not change the meaning of the quoted phrase, and there is absolutely no reason to include it.
It gets more complicated if your intent is to quote author #2. I can think of five main options:
Ignore the offending '[sic]' entirely (this is the most sane option)
"...suppose I write a letter from me to you."
Replace the offending '[sic]' with an ellipsis
"...suppose I write a letter from me ... to you."
Add your own '[sic]' after the quoted sentence (as Serodis recommends)
"...suppose I write a letter from me [sic] to you." [sic]
Add a footnote to clarify the situation. This can be used in several different ways. I prefer the first one, but it really comes down to a matter of style
"...suppose I write a letter from me 1 to you."
"...suppose I write a letter from me to you." 1
"...suppose I write a letter from me ...1 to you."
"...suppose I write a letter from me [sic]1 to you."
"...suppose I write a letter from me [sic] to you." [sic]1
1: [Author #2] chose to add [sic] after the word me when quoting [Author #1]
Describe the offending '[sic]' in words.
"...suppose I write a letter from me [sic] to you". [Author #2] thought that me was incorrect here.
"...suppose I write a letter from me ([sic] in original) to you". (as proposed by Ariel)
The choice between these options depends on the purpose of your document. I feel that option 1 makes the most sense unless you are writing an academic or legal document that will be highly scrutinized. In those cases, I would prefer options 2 or 4, since they present much less of a mental speed-bump for the reader.
Options 3 and 5 really only make sense if you actually want to draw attention to the '[sic]' itself. This would be the case if you were critiquing author #2. Between these two, I prefer option 5 since it is the most explicit.
Note 1: Oswald points out that [sic] does not necessarily indicate an error in the quoted text, but rather that "the text appears in the source exactly as quoted".
Note 3: Rex Kerr has some good information regarding nested quotes
The sequence of "dots" to which you refer are called an ellipsis. Although it's common to write it as three periods
..., note that strictly it's a special typographic character
A proper ellipsis is always three dots, no more, no less.
Different style guides have different guidelines. If you are writing for a specific publication, use what is in their style guide (or trust their subeditors). If you have no style guide, pick a style and be consistent.
There are really only two options:
- Just the ellipsis on its own: "oil … that has been…"
- The ellipsis in square brackets: "oil […] that has been…"
I personally prefer the version with square brackets, since it is then clear that the ellipsis is not part of the original quote.
The Modern Language Association's style guide has changed its position, to that of recommending no square brackets.