Please be Advised - Meaning, Origin and Usage

If you're walking in the train station, and you hear an announcement starting with the phrase, "please be advised," it's probably a good idea to pay attention to what the notice has to say next.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of the phrase.

Please be Advised Meaning

The phrase "please be advised" serves as a notification for important information. You'll typically find this phrase featuring in government publications and formal alerts and notifications. The expression leads to the notion that the content of the warning or information has extreme importance, and you should pay attention to what it has to say.

If you fail to pay attention to the content around the notification, it could cause inconvenience or present a dangerous situation to you. For instance, if you receive an official government notification featuring "please be advised," it could pertain to your taxes or something else important.

If you see a notice in the paper, it could refer to an event occurring in your neighborhood. "Please be advised" can have both negative and positive connotations. However, it's more common in the negative use of the phrase.

Typically, the phrase precedes important information, and it can also have a formal tone. While the addition of the word "please" is somewhat polite, the term could precede information that's authoritarian in nature.

Some language experts suggest that "please be advised" is an empty phrase with no real meaning. However, the term does have the function of adding politeness to a stern warning. It also serves to draw your attention to the forthcoming information. It softens an authoritative tone, preventing the listener from thinking that the notice is bossy.

Typically, people shut down when they hear authoritarian comments, and they might not pay attention to the information without the polite request of "please" in the phrase.

Please be Advised Example Usage

"Please be advised that the highway is closed between 6 am and 12 pm today due to roadworks."

"Please be advised; there is a possibility of a cat five hurricane forming in the Gulf of Mexico."

"Please be advised; you are due in court on 25th October 2022."

"Please be advised; we're watching you on the CCTV system."

Please be Advised Origin

There is no official mention of the origin of "please be advised." Many language experts believe the phrase first originated in the 1950s as a government message found in official documents and radio notifications providing a warning to the public.

The word "advise" originates from Middle English in the 14th century, having a root in the Anglo-French word "aviser," meaning opinion. It's important not to confuse the word with its original "avis," which means "bird."

Phrases Similar to Please be Advised

  • Take heed.
  • Please note.
  • Pay attention to the following.

Phrases Opposite to Please be Advised

  • There's no need to know.
  • What you don't know won't kill you.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Please be advised.

Ways People May Say Please be Advised Incorrectly

You won't use "please be advised" when talking to your friends and family. The use of the phrase in these scenarios will sound pompous, and people might deliberately avoid listening or paying attention to what you have to say. You would also not use the phrase if you're trying to be grammatically correct.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Please be Advised

You can use ”please be advised” in professional settings where you're trying to present a level of authority to the statement you're going to make. It's a way of telling people to pay attention to the next thing you're about the say. The phrase is common on official documents.

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