Do you understand the meaning of 'drowsiness' or 'avoid'? I'm sure you do but it appears research commissioned by the British National Formulary, which is used by doctors, nurses and pharmacists for information on drugs, suggests people are unsure what some instructions mean.
It found 'avoid alcoholic drink' could be open to misinterpretation and now recommends labels read 'do not drink alcohol while taking this medicine'.
Also the BNF found the word drowsiness is 'not always readily understood' and should now be improved to say 'this medicine makes you sleepy'.
The research was carried out by professor Theo Raynor and his colleagues at the University of Leeds.
"However, the leaflet may get lost, which means that the label on the medicine plays a very important part in guiding people's behaviour.
"It is vital therefore that wordings on labels are simple and straightforward."
I've yet to have a word with my own chemist and by displaying my clairvoyant skills, which most of us can possess courtesy of Google, I predict our supposed lack of understanding of the basic English language is due to this and not due to the UK having become an illiterate population.