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Which of the following are "correct" ways to abbreviate Nota Bene?

  • N.B. blahblah
  • n.b. blahblah
  • NB. blahblah
  • nb. blahblah
  • NB: blahblah
  • nb: blahblah
  • NB blahblah
  • nb blahblah
  • (etc.)

Authoritative sources would be much appreciated.

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closed as general reference by slim, Alenanno, aedia λ, Hugo, Mitch Jan 26 '12 at 14:32

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

In Italy you will see it as N.B. and usually it's the most common spelling also abroad. I've seen NB: but honestly, it doesn't feel right. – Alenanno Jan 24 '12 at 23:19
@Alenanno I personally tend toward NB: but I don't know of any legitimate style guides that condone this usage, which is what led me to ask the question. – Dan Burton Jan 25 '12 at 3:59
The difference would be in what country or what language you'd write in, I guess. – Alenanno Jan 26 '12 at 9:35
I disagree with the close vote; Internet reference sources generally disagree here. Wikipedia says "often abbreviated as N.B.", thefreedictionary.com says "Abbr. NB", wiktionary says "abbreviated form n.b.", CMOS gives "NB, n.b." - none give special emphasis nor assert exclusivity in their correctness. – Dan Burton Jan 26 '12 at 17:50
If there isn't a correct answer, then it means you are fairly free to choose your preferred acronym/abbreviation. – Alenanno Jan 26 '12 at 17:53
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Chicago Manual of Style says:

NB, n.b. nota bene, take careful note (capitals are illogical but often used for emphasis)

CMS adds that "Latin abbreviations are often set in roman" (i.e. not italic).

I tend to see

NB: The Smiley Police are lurking.

"...whom, n.b., I had never seen."

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I notice that it's often NB - I think you (and CMOS) are right that the rational is "emphasis". We don't normally expect to see EG, for example, but with "n.b." there often is an implied stress that would be articulated if you were reading out loud from the text. – FumbleFingers Jan 24 '12 at 23:35

This should suffice http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nota_bene

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Not exactly authoritative references there. – Dan Burton Jan 24 '12 at 23:05
Right you are, Dan. But from what I've witnessed here for the past three days, questions whose answers can be readily and satisfactorily apprehended online are soon closed by moderators on that basis. Perhaps preventing of this would follow from explaining why it is that the accepted, common abbreviation proves, in your case, unsatisfactory. – Tom Raywood Jan 25 '12 at 0:12
...or rather closed on that basis by users with rank sufficient to make that call. – Tom Raywood Jan 25 '12 at 0:20

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