This is similar to the question here, but my question is different because I'm not asking about ever using "you" in my writing.

I quite like using the turn of phrase "Note that...". For example, I'm discussing some feature of data that reflects a physical property. But then I want so say that my data looks a little different because of such-and-such reasons. So, I would like to write something along the lines of: "Note that all experimental data in this manuscript shows just half of the typical shape because we performed only half of the typical sweep."

When I write "Note...", I'm actually speaking to the reader directly. It's kind of like saying, "Hey you! Pay attention here!" Everywhere else in the manuscript the focus is on the experiment and not on the reader. So, would this be frowned upon?

  • 4
    Probable duplicate: academia.stackexchange.com/q/97334/40589
    – Dan Romik
    Jun 26, 2020 at 18:04
  • Oh! I didn't find that thread when I did a search before posting :(
    – StormRyder
    Jun 27, 2020 at 19:03
  • Although, now that I've looked at it, that question poses it from a slightly different perspective. Apparently the concern there is whether or not it sounds condescending, which is not the basis for my question.
    – StormRyder
    Jun 27, 2020 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


I often use imperative constructions like "Note that", "Observe that", "Recall that". Other imperative constructions, grammatically addressed to the reader and used by practically all mathematicians, include "Let f be a function" and "See [7]." I don't recall ever getting frowned at for using such language.


It is not frowned upon and is mostly seen as a stylistic choice. It might be annoying if the same phrase is repeated many times ("Note, note, note, note"). If you prefer an alternative, here are some.

"The reader should note..."

"Readers familiar with XXXX will realise..."

"For those unfamiliar with... an explanation is provided in footnote/ appendix/ section"


"It must be stressed that..."

"We emphasise/highlight/note that..."

"It is important to note..."

"Let us note that" - from @user151413

Or simply do not refer to the reader but to the fact.

  • 1
    "Let us note that"
    – user151413
    Jun 26, 2020 at 18:16
  • So, do you think it is frowned upon since you wrote alternatives?
    – user111388
    Jun 26, 2020 at 21:32

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