I know how to pronounce nota bene (YouTube can help if your Italian is rusty), but if you were reading an academic paper aloud (or something else that would contain notate bene), how would you go about saying "N.B." before continuing to read the note? Simply "note", or the proper "nota bene"?

  • 5
    I would say N.B. – WS2 Aug 24 '15 at 16:33
  • 2
    Either Note: or En Bee:. – John Lawler Aug 24 '15 at 16:34
  • 3
    N.B.: Nota bene is Latin, not Italian (though it would happen to be the same in Italian here). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 24 '15 at 16:38
  • 2
    Do whatever you would do if you were saying "i.e." or "e.g." instead. Since that's the way it's written, most people would just pronounce the letters. Someone really pretentious would probably say "id est" or "exempli gratia". I myself, being a pedant, tend to just sneakily translate it to "that is" or "for example". – Doug Warren Aug 24 '15 at 16:54
  • When I come across "e.g." when I'm reading some text aloud to people, I not only say "exempli gratia," I pause to ask whether they know the cases of the two words, and then I sneer at anyone who doesn't know. What do you say when you read "etc."? I hate it when people say "etsy." – deadrat Aug 24 '15 at 19:22

You pronounce N.B. (also written as NB or n.b., nb) as


(MacMillan). See also Cambridge. In other words you say the names of the two letters, just like for e.g. (also eg) ( /ˌiː ˈdʒiː/). (MacMillan) You can also say Note or Note well, which parallels saying for example for e.g.

NB that the NB is from the Latin nota bene although the phrase is the same in Italian.

See also How are "i.e." and "e.g." pronounced?

  • None of your references address reading aloud. FWIW, I would read e.g. aloud as "for example". – michael.hor257k Dec 27 '16 at 13:43
  • @michael.hor257k then vote to close the question as opinion-based – Arm the good guys in America Dec 27 '16 at 13:44
  • Non sequitur... – michael.hor257k Dec 27 '16 at 13:53
  • In addition, the answer states that one can read out e.g. as for example. – Arm the good guys in America Dec 27 '16 at 13:54
  • @michael.hor257k You might also want to compare your answer to How is 'et al 'pronounced?, which is rather draconian and gives no reference to back it up. – Arm the good guys in America Dec 27 '16 at 14:02

According to Cambridge English Pronouncing dictionary, it's:

BrE - ˌnəʊtɑːˈbeneɪ, -təˈbiːnɪ, US - ˌnoʊt̬əˈbeneɪ, - tɑːˈ-, -ˈbiːni

  • 2
    Is that the entry for NB, though, or the one for nota bene (if they are distinct)? Cambridge Dictionaries Online give /ˌenˈbiː/ as the pronunciation of NB (and doesn’t have an entry for nota bene at all). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 24 '15 at 17:58
  • Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary by Daniel Jones – Alex Lee Aug 24 '15 at 18:01
  • That wasn’t what I asked… and you haven’t actually answered the question here at all. The asker states that he knows how to pronounce the words nota bene. He’s asking how you would read the abbreviation “N.B.” in a document out loud—whether you’d read it out as the words nota bene or in some other way. Giving the pronunciation to the words nota bene does not answer that question. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 24 '15 at 18:52
  • THAT is how i'd read it out loud – Alex Lee Aug 24 '15 at 18:53
  • 1
    Your answer should say so, then—preferably with some kind of source to make it more than just “this is what I would do”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 24 '15 at 18:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.