I was just reviewing chapter 6 in my Russian coursebook, when I noticed “N.B.” in the text. I realized that I had a general idea of what the abbreviation signalled – “pay attention to this!” – but I wasn’t sure what the abbreviation actually stood for. Google to the rescue:
Nota Bene is a Latin phrase meaning “Note Well,” coming from notāre – to note. It is in the singular imperative mood, instructing one individual to note well the matter at hand. (The pluralis form is notate bene.)
In present day English, it is used to draw the attention of the reader to a certain (side) aspect or detail of the subject on hand, translating it as “pay attention” or “take notice”. It is often written in the abbreviated form: N.B.