Editors' Note

This past Monday The Crimson published an editors' note regarding Victoria Ilyinsky's Oct. 16 column, "This Word is Killing Me, Literally," stating that the piece failed to reference the November 2005 Slate Magazine article "The Trouble With Literally" as a source for its citation of quotations from "The Great Gatsby and "Little Women."

Since the publication of that note, we have continued to investigate whether the piece properly cited all of its sources. We still believe that Ilyinsky's argument in the piece was her own. We have also concluded, however, that two other parts of the opinion piece also do not meet The Crimson's standards for source citation, and it is on this basis that we have decided to retract the column.

First, Ilyinsky's citation of a sportscaster's use of the word "literally" during a Giants-Eagles NFL football game implies that the author heard the commentary herself. In fact, she learned of the account by reading about it on the web log "Literally, A Web Log."

Second, Ilyinsky's discussion of so-called "Janus words" may draw from a similar discussion in the Slate article. Both articles discuss Janus words, and provide three different examples of them. While the examples are different in each column, their presentation is very similar.

As a result, we have decided to discontinue Ilyinsky's bi-weekly column, "On Our Language." We apologize to our readers for the improper citations. We continue to be committed to accuracy and honesty in our reporting, and we continue to work with our writers to ensure proper citation in all of our content.


William C. Marra, Michael B. Broukhim, Matthew S. Meisel