Monday, February 18, 2008

Site Versus Cite Versus Sight

You've undoubtedly run across the same sorts of errors with these words that I have seen. I suspect that the commonality of the phrase “web site” has added to the confusion. Let's explore their meanings.

You cite something as a source for your argument or explanation. You do so to acknowledge the original author and to show readers or listeners that you have support for your position. Folks who write on the Internet commonly cite the sites at which they did their research.

You can be cited without writing a word, too. You may receive a citation, having been cited for something poorly behaved like a traffic violation or for something positive such as bravery under fire.

The word site refers to a place, whether concrete like the site of an invasion or abstract like a web site. I would hope that people rarely confuse this with the word sight, although I fear that it happens regularly.

You see a sight, you have a sense of sight, you visit a site. The word sight relates almost exclusively to the ability to see or envision something, whether you are writing about taking in the sights or sighting in your new rifle.

“What a sight the site of the battle presented!” If I had been quoting the work of another, I would now cite my source, probably by linking the author's name to the web site from which I copied it. Unfortunately for the purposes of this post, I created that sentence from whole cloth.

I hope that this issue is a sight more clear to you. Other sites skimp on these explanations, or fail to cite their sources. I thought this mess up all by my lonesome.


Warren crouch


....But now that you have published this article, I will be able to cite the site where I sighted “What a sight the site of the battle presented!”