We got a PM who’s [sic] 93 years old



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 I guess the “I’m too old for this s***” is no longer valid."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”?


Posted 2018-05-27T03:35:21.017

Reputation: 61

I think that it may be that PM is still 92 years old. He was born in July 1925 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahathir_bin_Mohamad

– RubioRic – 2018-05-27T04:01:58.407

[sic] only refers to erroneousness in a sentence, not necessarily a grammatical error. – JacobIRR – 2018-05-27T05:02:05.017

1Do 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 – 2018-05-27T09:24:34.647

1Seems 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 – 2018-05-27T09:32:20.227

5It 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 – 2018-05-27T09:44:56.057

Obviously, [sic] is referring to "we got". – Hot Licks – 2018-05-27T22:22:17.280



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 I guess that 'I’m too old for this s***' is no longer valid."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.


Posted 2018-05-27T03:35:21.017

Reputation: 4 606

4I thought about 'we got' but decided it could be construed as 'we received' or 'we ended up with'. – Michael Harvey – 2018-05-27T10:47:47.310

4I believe that "we got" is informal but perfectly idiomatic. – Mari-Lou A – 2018-05-27T11:33:12.400

1You'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 – 2018-05-27T12:19:49.300

@MichaelHarvey Good point, but I think this would have to be more obviously in past tense to be construed as "we received" or "we ended up with." As is, I think it tends to be perceived as present tense. (I did upvote your answer, too, though!) – joiedevivre – 2018-05-27T12:26:41.667

1I 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 – 2018-05-27T16:16:26.097

1My 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 – 2018-05-27T19:23:55.597

Have to agree with Michael here. ‘We have’ would not fit the context, which is about the recent formation of a new council. The context dictates that it has to be a simple past-tense construction; a present tense wouldn’t fit unless it said something like “We now have…”. The two other errors pointed out in Michael’s answer are definitely errors, as is the bizarre ‘[sic]’ added by the SCMP, but ‘we got’ isn’t. – Janus Bahs Jacquet – 2018-05-27T19:40:13.700


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.

Michael Harvey

Posted 2018-05-27T03:35:21.017

Reputation: 31 750

I think that you haven't nailed the error but that's my opinion. [sic] is too far away from those mistakes. – RubioRic – 2018-05-27T08:19:06.927

3I 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 – 2018-05-27T08:22:18.167

4I 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 – 2018-05-27T12:35:44.927

Few newspapers in my experience ever use italics (or square brackets) when they'd be correct. – Anton Sherwood – 2018-05-27T21:56:49.170


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.


Posted 2018-05-27T03:35:21.017

Reputation: 6 560

4Who'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 – 2018-05-27T08:24:50.710

@MichaelHarvey As already pointed in main comments, sic not only signals grammatical errors. I think that my theory is more plausible than yours, that's all. No offense meant. – RubioRic – 2018-05-27T08:28:34.127

1If 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 – 2018-05-27T08:32:31.020

1Regarding 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 – 2018-05-27T09:01:53.227

@MichaelHarvey Good story and good second question. But do you communicate with you daughter by letter and do you usually include quotes with errors? We are talking about the use of sic in writting. The only one that can explain for certain its use in the text is the author or his editor. I may be wrong, but I think that I don't deserve a downvote just for commenting your post. – RubioRic – 2018-05-27T09:21:22.737

1I communicate with my daughter by speech, letter, email and SMS mostly. RubioRic wrote "writting [sic]". – Michael Harvey – 2018-05-27T09:35:19.990

@MichaelHarvey Do you still use SMS? Have you heard about something called Whatsapp? Thanks for the info. :-) – RubioRic – 2018-05-27T09:37:17.477

1I don't use Whatsapp. I am not a millennial. – Michael Harvey – 2018-05-27T09:38:37.740

Let us continue this discussion in chat.

– Michael Harvey – 2018-05-27T11:01:30.707