while @elmoehussaini posted: “We got a PM who’s [sic] 93 years old. We got a Team of Eminent Persons to repair the economy who are of 60 years old and above. I guess the “I’m too old for this s***” is no longer valid."

Quoted from South China Morning Post (scmp)

The sentence labelled as sic. What wrong with who's which is abbreviation for “who is”?

  • I think that it may be that PM is still 92 years old. He was born in July 1925 en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahathir_bin_Mohamad – RubioRic May 27 '18 at 4:01
  • [sic] only refers to erroneousness in a sentence, not necessarily a grammatical error. – JacobIRR May 27 '18 at 5:02
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    Do you have a link to the original tweet that shows the line: “We got a PM who’s [sic] 93 years old. We got a Team of Eminent Persons I searched online and didn't find anything. Maybe the tweet was translated into English by the journalist? – Mari-Lou A May 27 '18 at 9:24
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    Seems the tweet has been deleted, pity. So it's not 100% certain who wrote [sic], the original twitter user or the journalist/editor himself. – Mari-Lou A May 27 '18 at 9:32
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    It looks to me like the work of a misinformed pedant who thought that who's ought to be whose and wanted to tell everybody that they were cleverer than the original writer. – Colin Fine May 27 '18 at 9:44

The [sic] is just wrong. Ultimately, whoever wrote this seems to just not know what he's talking about. "We got" is incorrect, so [sic] after both instances of that would make sense. Others have pointed out that 93 is the incorrect age, so [sic] after 93 would make sense, too. "Are of 60 years old" is incorrect, so [sic] after "of" would make sense.

In short, whoever wrote it seems to be a non-native English speaker. The quotation is full of errors, but "who's" is definitely not one of them.

Phrased in "proper" English, this tweet might read as follows:

"We have a PM who’s 93 years old. We have a team of eminent persons to repair the economy who are all over 60. I guess that 'I’m too old for this s***' is no longer valid."

Edit: Others have pointed out in the comments:

  • "We got" is proper English if this is interpreted to be in simple past tense. This is true. I will leave my previous answer alone, but agree that you could retain "We got" and it would be proper past tense. If the tweet weren't full of other odd errors, I would be more likely to interpret it as proper past tense, I think.
  • Even in present tense, "we got" is idiomatic. However, professional newspaper editors often use [sic] with nonstandard grammar, as well, even when it is idiomatic.
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    I thought about 'we got' but decided it could be construed as 'we received' or 'we ended up with'. – Michael Harvey May 27 '18 at 10:47
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    I believe that "we got" is informal but perfectly idiomatic. – Mari-Lou A May 27 '18 at 11:33
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    You're right the actual tweet has inverted commas for "I'm too old for this s****" and the journalist added the final quote marks where the tweet ends with "… is no longer valid" Very confusing! – Mari-Lou A May 27 '18 at 12:19
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    I think, based on the second sentence not getting a "[sic]", they thought the first sentence was supposed to be something like "of 93 years old", and the "[sic]" is where the missing "of" would be. That's backwards though, as said in this answer. – Izkata May 27 '18 at 16:16
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    My best guess is that whoever added the [sic] thought that the "who's" should've been "whose". They're wrong, of course, but it's hard to imagine what other perceived error they could've been hinting at. – Mark Amery May 27 '18 at 19:23

The relevant part of the South China Morning Post story looks like this:

@elmoehussaini posted: “We got a PM who’s [sic] 93 years old. We got a Team of Eminent Persons to repair the economy who are of 60 years old and above. I guess the “I’m too old for this s***” is no longer valid.”

The word sic is customarily, but not always, printed in italics, immediately after an error. There it is in a Roman font after a correct usage (who's). Furthermore, the writer or copy editor missed two genuine errors in the quoted tweet: "who are of 60 years old", and 'the' before the quoted saying.

Many UK newspapers and their web sites present social media posts exactly as they are written, with no corrections or insertions of [sic] (sometimes they would almost outnumber the words quoted!). Sometimes they are shown in a representation of a phone screen.

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  • I think that you haven't nailed the error but that's my opinion. [sic] is too far away from those mistakes. – RubioRic May 27 '18 at 8:19
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    I said sic was placed after a correct usage. That is the error made by the journalist at the SCMP. What is your issue with that? – Michael Harvey May 27 '18 at 8:22
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    I especially love how you point out that tweets are often copied verbatim and no [sics] are added because they would outnumber the quoted words! So true! – joiedevivre May 27 '18 at 12:35
  • Few newspapers in my experience ever use italics (or square brackets) when they'd be correct. – Anton Sherwood May 27 '18 at 21:56

According to Oxford Dictionary


Used in brackets after a copied or quoted word that appears odd or erroneous to show that the word is quoted exactly as it stands in the original

The original text was copied from a tweet:

@elmoehussaini posted: “We got a PM who’s [sic] 93 years old.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was born 10 July 1925 (age 92)

He's not 93 years old yet. who's is wrong. That's the error signaled by [sic]

This is theory. I may be wrong but the only one that can explain for certain its use in this text is the author or his editor. As pointed by @Michael Harvey the use of "who's" is grammatically correct.

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    Who's is correctly used. To signal that the tweeter got the age wrong one would print We got a PM who's 93 [sic] years old.. In fact the PM will be 93 in two months, and that may be near enough for the tweeter's purposes. At any rate he is nearer 93 than 92. – Michael Harvey May 27 '18 at 8:24
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    If sic is being used to signal an error in the age asserted by the tweeter, it goes straight after the error. After the figures 93. Like this 93 [sic]. Not after 'who's'. – Michael Harvey May 27 '18 at 8:32
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    Regarding the PM's age in round figures, if my daughter said she wanted to marry a man who I know is 92.83 years old, my first question might be "You want to marry a ninety-three-year old man?". My second question would be "How much money has he got?" – Michael Harvey May 27 '18 at 9:01
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    I communicate with my daughter by speech, letter, email and SMS mostly. RubioRic wrote "writting [sic]". – Michael Harvey May 27 '18 at 9:35
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    I don't use Whatsapp. I am not a millennial. – Michael Harvey May 27 '18 at 9:38

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