So what if the witness says:

What the ___ was going on?

But they left out the word that would usually go in that blank.

So right now my transcript looks like this.

I asked her what the was going on.

Would you put anything there between the word "the" and the "was"?

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I don't think I've ever had this problem come up in my 40 years of reporting so I really don't know what I would do. Assuming there was no "f--" with just the letter "F" verbalized (that's the word you're referring to I take it) I think I would just use a dash. It's sorta like the speaker is changing what he/she wanted to say mid-sentence, mid-word, or 'tween words. I think I would do: I asked her, "What the -- was going on." with the quotation marks, indicating the direct quote.
Thanks, Phil.

And you know, it's a little exciting coming up with something that you, with 40 years of experience, have not seen before.

Yep. She just skipped right over the word on purpose, didn't say a letter or anything.

Thank you.
I agree with Phil. I would put a dash:

What the -- was going on?
I like first instincts. I think the clearest transcription is : I asked her what the ____ was going on. I think it's clear the witness did not say: what the "blank" was going on and the most common reading would be to simply "stutter step" over the blank, as it was heard. I think the (sic) is okay but sort of confuses in a way.

I'm newbie here, so Hi!
I've had a slight variation on this. Being Irish, we're known for our "colorful" language and I had a witness recently who actually sanitized her own testimony. It went something like this:

A. Well, I just said 'what the beep are ya doin' over there, ya beepin' beeper?' And then he called me a fat beep! Well, I'm not having that, so I let him have it, just you know, 'Get out of my face you mother-beeper'.
But can I just say that I didn't actually say 'beep' Judge, I really said...
JUDGE: ...Thank you so much, Mrs Clancy, I think everyone here understands exactly what you mean.

It certainly raised a few eyebrows :)

But back on point, I agree with Phil, if she didn't say anything then I'd use the dash.


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