One way language can be confusing is that there are certain phrases that can mean different things in different contexts.
This can be confusing because it’s not just about the words themselves.
It’s about picking up on other things about the situation and interpreting what is being said to you.
The expression “duly noted” is one of those things that can be said either neutrally or sarcastically.
Below, we’ll discuss the difference and when you can safety assume whether someone is being polite or a little bit impatient with you!
What does the expression “duly noted” mean?
“Duly noted” is an expression that acknowledges the receipt or recording of information. However, it can also be used sarcastically, to convey that a person doesn’t care about the information that is being shared.
What do the parts of the expression “duly noted” mean?
It’s not always possible to understand an expression or idiom better by breaking down the meaning of the words in it. Sometimes, this can lead to even more confusion since the individual meanings of words don’t always correspond to how they are used as part of an expression or idiom!
However, in the case of “duly noted,” you can better understand the meaning of the expression by looking at the individual words.
What does “duly” mean?
“Duly” is an adverb that means something that is done properly, appropriately or in a satisfactory time frame.
The letter said our application had been duly received and that we would hear something in two weeks.
He will be duly rewarded for his hard work.
It can also give an impression of something done as a matter of course from a sense of duty or obligation but without much enthusiasm:
I duly attended the neighbor’s baby shower although I didn’t know her well.
My apology was duly received, but I could tell they still didn’t like me.
What does “noted” mean?
“Noted,” in this context, means that a record has been made of something.
This can be a physical record, such as writing something down or logging it in a computer database.
It can also be simply noticing something and telling yourself to remember it.
Here are a couple of examples of this meaning of “noted”:
Cassie noted that she was the only one at the gathering wearing a nametag.
The interviewer noted everyone’s answers on a legal pad.
Using “duly noted” in a sentence as acknowledgment
You could say “duly noted” to indicate having heard what the other person has said or noticed what another person did. It also suggests that the information shared is being considered.
Here are a few examples of how it might be used:
Your friend: “It’s probably going to snow tomorrow, so you might want to put chains on your tires.”
You: “Duly noted!”
Her attendance at the meeting was duly noted.
We duly noted that no one seemed to be interested in speaking up on our behalf.
Sometimes, you might use this expression to let someone know you have heard what they are saying but you aren’t sure whether you’re going to act on it or not.
Maybe you have errands to run:
Using “duly noted” in a sentence to indicate something has been recorded
“Duly noted” can also mean that something has been recorded in a more formal sense.
Here are some ways you might see it used in a sentence:
The teacher called out each student’s name and duly noted whether they were in class that day.
I explained my symptoms to the doctor, who duly noted them all.
You might also receive a formal acknowledgment, such as a letter or an email, that uses this expression:
If you are in trouble at work, you might get a follow-up email after a disciplinary meeting that puts it all in writing:
Using “duly noted” sarcastically
Just when you think you’ve got “duly noted” down, you find out that someone might say it to actually mean the opposite and let you know that they definitely are not considering the information you have given them and that furthermore, they do not even particularly respect you!
That’s a lot to take in from two little words, but it’s important to consider the context. You might not always be sure without a shadow of a doubt whether someone is being sarcastic, but you can make a good guess.
First, in an official capacity, such as the formal letters written above, you can always take “duly noted” at face value.
This is also the case if you are exchanging a piece of neutral information, such as letting someone know they should take a precaution because of incoming bad weather.
If the information is useful and you have no reason to believe there would be animosity between you and this other person, you can generally assume the “duly noted” is sincere.
However, let’s consider another situation.
Your sister has always treated you like a foolish child and bossed you around. Right now, you’re talking about visiting your parents, and she’s giving you a long list of things she thinks you ought to do while you’re there.
“Duly noted,” you say to her. This is a way of acknowledging that you hear her, but you don’t necessarily agree.
When “duly noted” is sarcastic but friendly
Remember that sarcasm is not always mean or rude. It can be done affectionately too.
For example, maybe you have a friend who is always teasing you about your tendency to worry too much about everything.
The two of you are planning a camping trip, and you keep giving them instructions on what to do to make sure bears don’t get your food, you don’t get lost and you don’t fall off the mountain.
“One more thing,” you say. “Make sure to bring a backup stove in case the main one doesn’t work.”
Your friend looks you square in the eye and says, “Duly noted.”
This is a light-hearted way for your friend to poke fun at your tendency to overplan.
They are trying to break the tension a little bit and let you know that everything is under control and you really don’t have to worry about every little detail.
Duly noted alternatives
Last but not least, if you are using “duly” noted in a business correspondence-related context, there are many possible synonyms for you to use.
Please have a look at our article 10 Other Ways to Say “Well noted” in Business Correspondence where you will find 9 great alternatives for duly noted.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.