I have a table of vital signs of patients who took part in a study. Doctors visited each patient several times during the course of the clinical trial, measured their pulse, blood pressure etc. and filled this data into paper forms, which then were combined into the table.

In some table cells, I see "не заполнено" - literally "not filled" instead of, say, 36.6 °C (for body temperature). The doctor failed to fill the data into the form. What would be the acceptable ways of writing this in English?

I came up with three options:

  1. Unfilled
  2. Not filled in
  3. Not filled out

The accepted convention in statistics is for such cells to be entered as 'NA', which is an abbreviation for 'Not Available'. Statistical software can generally process NA.

  • 1
    Isn't N/A more common? I've seen N/A but never NA... Like w/o – user22427 Feb 12 '18 at 9:51
  • Note that NA can mean both not available and not applicable. It also has several specialised medical meanings. – JavaLatte Feb 12 '18 at 10:04
  • 3
    IN statistics it is always NA. In other contexts you are right. Neither term should be confused with NAN or NaN, which mean not a number. – JeremyC Feb 12 '18 at 10:04
  • Oops. In the same (huge) table there are indeed entries NA (the letters are in English, although the document is in Russian). So I have on my hands some cells having not filled (не заполнено) in them and some having NA, thus I can't use NA for "not filled". – CowperKettle Feb 12 '18 at 11:28
  • 1
    Well, doesn't that depend on whether there is some significance in the fact that both usages occur in the document? It could be that the table has been constructed by just gathering data from different sources using different conventions for NA. If you have to avoid using NA for the the unfilled cells, I would suggest your 2, which is British English. 3 is AmE. – JeremyC Feb 12 '18 at 15:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.