“N.B.” vs. “P.S.” – Difference Explained (Email Usage)

Abbreviations can be fairly common with formal writing. You might see them in letters or emails addressed to you, and it would help to understand what they all mean. This article will look at “N.B.” and “P.S.” and the differences between them both.

What Is The Difference Between “N.B.” And “P.S.”?

“N.B.” means “nota bene,” which we use to refer readers to a specific piece of information and “take note” of it. This will help them to remember it later. “P.S.” means “postscript,” which is additional information we include at the end of a letter or email.

nb vs ps

We typically use “N.B.” when we want to draw the reader’s attention to something. If we don’t include it, they might miss a vital piece of information:

  • Work is canceled on Friday.
  • N.B., work is canceled on Friday.

Including “N.B.” helps to draw people’s attention to the fact, and they will more likely “note” it down and remember it.

The same applies to “P.S.,” though we typically use it when we want to add further information to an email or letter that we’ve already finished. It might not have been relevant information to add to the body of the text:

  • P.S., if you don’t see the hidden message in this email, I don’t want you to reply.

What Does “N.B.” Mean?

So, let’s look a little closer at the meaning of both to help you understand what they mean.

“N.B.” means “nota bene.” It is a Latin phrase that means “note well” and indicates to the reader that we want them to make a special note about the following information. This will allow them to refer back to the information at a later time.

“N.B.” (or NB) works well when we want people to acknowledge something.

Sometimes, the information we use with “N.B.” is crucial for the reader, and we won’t want them to miss it because it could lead to some problems.

For example, let’s say you’re writing in to let work know you’re on holiday next week:

While this works as a message to remind them, it’s too easy to overlook. If your boss overlooks that message, you could be in a lot of trouble for missing work without reason.

However, including “N.B.” removes this issue:

  • N.B., I won’t be in the office next week.

Now, there is no reason for them to overlook it. And, if they do, it’s on them, and you can’t get in trouble because you gave them plenty of reminders and reasons to “take note.”

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What Does “P.S.” Mean?

“P.S.” isn’t quite the same thing as “N.B.” Therefore, we should understand more about its meaning before we use either.

“P.S.” means “postscript.” It means that we are literally adding information to the end of a document (“post” meaning “after,” and “script” referring to the document or letter). The information is usually not all that relevant to the message but is still useful to include.

Most of the time, “P.S.” highlights important information that would have been irrelevant to the overall email or letter.

For example:

  • Dear sir,
  • I hope you’re well, and I look forward to hearing your plans for the meeting on Friday.
  • Kind regards,
  • Paul Smith
  • P.S. I have attached some of my findings from the project I was working on in case they are helpful to you.

As you can see, “P.S.” doesn’t directly add information useful to the main body of the email. Still, we want to include the attachment and divert their attention toward it, which is why we use “P.S.”

Why Is “N.B.” And “P.S.” Sometimes Used Interchangeably?

While it’s clear the two abbreviations mean different things, they can also be used interchangeably. It’s not all that common, but you’ll usually notice that some people will use “N.B.” in the place of “P.S.” at the end of a letter or email.

You could see “N.B.” and “P.S.” written interchangeably at the end of an email or letter. “P.S.” adds additional information that we usually want someone to refer to or understand. “N.B.” also works in this way when we want to add more information for someone to understand.

We cannot use “P.S.” the same way we use “N.B.,” but we can certainly use it the other way around. Adding footnotes or afterthoughts to emails and letters is commonplace, and both abbreviations can do it:

  • P.S. I liked your new haircut when I saw you in the office.
  • N.B., I’ve attached the document you asked for.

Should I Use “N.B.” Or “P.S.” In Email?

Generally, you will find “P.S.” to be the most common of the abbreviations in English.

“P.S.” is the most appropriate abbreviation to use in an email. It’s much less common for English speakers to use “N.B.” in any cases because it’s usually done by seniors rather than colleagues or employees.

Examples Of How To Use “N.B.” In A Sentence

Finally, let’s go over some examples of the two in action to help you understand how they work more closely.

  1. N.B., I will be changing the timetable over the next week, so your shift patterns will change.
  2. N.B., there are no more cups in the coffee machine.
  3. N.B., the big boss will be in on Friday to check our progress.
  4. N.B., I expect this project to be completed by the end of the day.
  5. N.B., I need you all to attend the meeting on the 4th.
  6. NB, you should all be under review for your performances in recent times.
  7. NB, there isn’t much money left in our funds for any lavish parties.

Examples Of How To Use “P.S.” In A Sentence

  1. P.S. it was really nice to talk to you again the other day.
  2. P.S. I hope you and the kids are well.
  3. P.S. I really don’t think you should keep talking about the confidential findings after your meetings.
  4. P.S. I have attached the document you asked for.
  5. P.S. there was another cookie missing from the jar when I went downstairs this morning.
  6. P.S. I have just spoken to mom, and she’s more than happy to let you stay.
  7. PS I thought it would be nice if we could go out for dinner tonight.

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