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.

  • 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, 2012 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, 2012 at 3:59
  • The difference would be in what country or what language you'd write in, I guess.
    – Alenanno
    Jan 26, 2012 at 9:35
  • 1
    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, 2012 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, 2012 at 17:53

2 Answers 2


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."

  • 1
    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. Jan 24, 2012 at 23:35
  • @FumbleFingers, "n.b." itself is an emphasis. For more emphasis, use: "n.b." or "n.b.!".
    – Pacerier
    Mar 28, 2017 at 23:51
  • 1
    @FumbleFingers, You could also emphasize the note itself like this: "N.B.: Version 2.0 changed everything."
    – martineau
    Aug 14, 2021 at 8:03

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

  • 5
    Not exactly authoritative references there.
    – Dan Burton
    Jan 24, 2012 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. Jan 25, 2012 at 0:12
  • ...or rather closed on that basis by users with rank sufficient to make that call. Jan 25, 2012 at 0:20
  • Giving a link to Wikipedia isn't the same as giving an answer. The definition in Wikipedia also doesn't answer the original question about punctuation. Sep 20, 2017 at 11:02
  • I would have to agree that the usefulness of the Wikipedia link is a function of one's more generalized problem solving ability, which is to say one's ability to integrate its information with other freely availbale, related material. A couple things come to mind. Sep 21, 2017 at 22:55

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