N.B.: I learned a bit of Latin thanks to my sons' school emails

Sometime earlier this year, I noticed that the bilingual emails sent out by administrators at my sons’ school included a bit of another language. But, it took a while for me to get it. Why? Because, it can be hard to spot a language when it shows up as two letters - N.B.

Like many other schools, timely updates are shared with parents and guardians via email. Since my sons go to a French international school in the U.S., most parents speak French and/or English – and a variety of other languages. So, I’m used to scrolling through the regular email updates, passing by the French section at the top to get to the English one at the bottom.

Recently, I noted that both sections included the same two letters in the closing lines of the emails – N.B. And, I was intrigued.

I’m used to seeing P.S. or even a “please note” at the end of emails, but never N.B.

After some quick research, I learned that N.B. is the abbreviation for “nota bene” in Latin, which means “note well,” and is used to ask people to “pay attention” or “take notice.” Nota bene comes from the Latin roots notāre (to note) and bene (well).

Nota bene can be abbreviated as “N.B,.” “N.b.” or “n.b.” in U.S. English and “NB,” “Nb” or “nb” in UK English.

N.B. is usually followed by a colon and then the note of importance.

So, for example, in closing this blog post, I might say:

N.B.: Parents can learn new things – and bits of other languages, too.


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Filed under: Language

Tags: Language, Latin, Multilingualism

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