I'm translating a document template, to be filled out later for specific purposes. In one of the tables, the person who will fill out the document is instructed to either specify the pharmacopoeial monograph on which his analytical procedure is based or, if he created the analytical procedure all by himself, to just draw a horizontal line so that nobody could later manipulate the document by writing something there.

What do we call it in English when someone is instructed to draw a line in a form in order to indicate an absence?

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Regulatory document
(Provide a) Reference to the relevant EP, USP or BP monograph or other document. If the procedure was developed in-house without reliance on other documents, place a horizontal line. (?)

Or maybe it is "use a dash"?

1 Answer 1


In the US, the most common solution here would be something like, "If these do not apply, write "N/A". (This means not applicable).

Or, consider, "If, blah, blah, write 'Not applicable'".

Otherwise, perhaps, "If the procedure was developed in-house, draw a line through this box."

  • 2
    What about "Leave it blank and cross through" or "Fill the box or gap with a horizontal line"
    – FrankMK
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 9:23
  • @Fra Good contributions. I think most English-speaking readers would find those instructions clear. It may seem to some that if we cross through we are not leaving blank, but perhaps I would not even notice that possible contradiction if I were completing the form, and in any case, I would understand what is wanted. Similarly, Fill the box suggests to me completely covering all the blank space in the box. Though again, that may not bother anyone as a practical matter. I think we wouldn't use gap in this situation in American English. Perhaps in UK English. Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 9:37

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