Sic! .... Wait, what?
edit: see comments!
In this week's World Wide Words newsletter, the Sic! column has these two items:
John Eliot Spofford tells us that the Boston Globe reported on 18 February: "A woman in her early 50s who was struck and killed by a tow truck while crossing a street in Brighton Thursday night has died, Boston police said."I have to admit, I don't see anything to object to. The first is a bit wordy and might, had it not been the lead in a newspaper story, have better been two sentences, but there is absolutely nothing grammatically or syntactically incorrect with it. I suppose it's possible to believe that "while crossing a street" modifies the tow truck, but it's not the first syntactic choice, is it? "She was struck by a brick while crossing the street" - nobody would argue that "while..." had to be modifying brick. Perhaps "she was struck while crossing a street in Brighton Thursday night by a tow truck" is absolutely less ambiguous, but it violates the principle of Early Immediate Constituents by shifting the "short" tow truck to the end of the clause. At any rate, does this merit a "Sic!"? I don't think so.
From an obituary in the Wiltshire Times of 17 February, submitted by Alan Jones: "Mr [B] grew up in the East End of London but when his mother died at the age of five he was sent to a Dr Barnado's [sic] home".
As for the other one - there isn't any other way to say that, except for the wordy "sent to the home of a Dr. Barnado", and that's no better. Perhaps Mr. Jones is objecting to the article's being present at all? That's a simple matter of stylistics. Clearly, as read, the sentence means "one, a certain" Dr. Barnado. Perhaps Mr. Jones would have preferred either of those:
Mr [B] grew up in the East End of London but when his mother died at the age of five he was sent to one Dr Barnado's home.And if Dr. Barnado has been previously identified, you wouldn't want any qualifier there. But unless that's so, there's nothing wrong with this one as it stands. Absolutely not Sic!-worthy.
Mr [B] grew up in the East End of London but when his mother died at the age of five he was sent to a certain Dr Barnado's home.
edit: Oh, haha. Joke's on me. "Dr. Barnado's Homes" were a institution, intended to house, clothe, and educate waifs and strays. But you know what? That means "a Dr. Barnado's home" is impeccable. (Though a capital H wouldn't be amiss, that's not what Mr. Jones sic'd, is it?)