When it comes to using the comparative form of the adjective ‘simple’, there is often confusion about whether to use ‘simpler’ or ‘more simple’.
‘Simpler’ is the correct form to use when comparing two things.
‘Simple’ is a one-syllable adjective that describes something that is easy to understand or do. When we want to compare two things and show that one is more simple than the other, we use the comparative form of the adjective. In this case, the comparative form is ‘simpler’. For example, you might say “This math problem is simpler than the one we did yesterday.”
On the other hand, ‘more simple’ is incorrect because it violates the rules of comparative forms. ‘More’ is used for adjectives with three or more syllables, and for two-syllable adjectives that do not follow the ‘-er’ rule.
Using “more simple” instead of “simpler” is not grammatically incorrect, but it is less common and may sound awkward or clumsy to some native English speakers.
When to Use ‘Simpler’ Instead of ‘More Simple
When using comparative adjectives, there are general rules to follow. For two-syllable adjectives, we usually add ‘-er’ to the end of the adjective to form the comparative form. For example, ‘tall’ becomes ‘taller’. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as adjectives that end in ‘y’. In this case, we drop the ‘y’ and add ‘-ier’. For example, ‘easy’ becomes ‘easier’.
For adjectives with three or more syllables, we use ‘more’ before the adjective to form the comparative form. For example, ‘beautiful’ becomes ‘more beautiful’. One-syllable adjectives often use ‘-er’ to form the comparative form, but there are some exceptions to this rule as well. For example, ‘stupid’ becomes ‘more stupid’.
However, ‘more simple’ may be preferred in certain situations where the speaker or writer wants to emphasize the degree of simplicity. For example, in technical or academic writing, where precision and clarity are paramount, ‘more simple’ may be seen as a more formal and precise alternative to ‘simpler’.
Similarly, in marketing or advertising copy, where simplicity is often touted as a desirable quality, ‘more simple’ may be used to convey a sense of extreme simplicity or ease of use.
Ultimately, there is no substantial difference between “simpler” and “more simple” regarding meaning. Both forms indicate that you are comparing two things you find minimally difficult.
Exploring Comparative Forms and Exceptions
When using comparative adjectives, you need to pay attention to the number of syllables in the adjective.
For one-syllable adjectives, you can simply add -er to the end of the word to create the comparative form. For example, “tall” becomes “taller” and “simple” becomes “simpler.”
There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, some one-syllable adjectives that end in a vowel and a consonant, like “big,” require you to double the final consonant before adding -er. So, “big” becomes “bigger.”
For adjectives with two or more syllables, you need to use “more” or “less” before the adjective to create the comparative form. For example, “interesting” becomes “more interesting” and “expensive” becomes “less expensive.”
There are some two-syllable adjectives that have both versions of the comparative form, like “common.” In this case, you can use either “commoner” or “more common” to create the comparative form.
Take note that while both “simpler” and “more simple” are acceptable versions of the comparative form of “simple,” “simpler” is the more common and easy-to-understand version.
In formal writing, it’s generally better to use the -er/-est form of the comparative and superlative. There are also some exceptions to this rule, like with three-syllable adjectives, where you would use “more” or “most” to create the comparative and superlative forms.
Examples of ‘Simpler’ and ‘More Simple’ in Different Contexts
Here are some examples of how to use ‘simpler’ and ‘more simple’ in different contexts:
Comparing Two Objects
When comparing two objects, it is appropriate to use ‘simpler’ to indicate which one is less complex or easier to use. For example:
- The new software is simpler to use than the old one.
- The instructions for assembling the furniture are simpler than I expected.
Comparing Two Situations
When comparing two situations, you can use either ‘simpler’ or ‘more simple’ interchangeably. For example:
- Life was simpler/more simple before the internet.
- It is simpler/more simple to cook at home than to eat out.
Comparing Two People
When comparing two people, it is appropriate to use ‘more simple’ to indicate which one is less intelligent or less complex in their thinking. For example:
- John’s ideas are simpler/more simple than Mary’s.
- The new employee’s approach is more simple/simpler than the experienced one’s.
Comparing Two Concepts
When comparing two concepts, it is appropriate to use ‘more simple’ to indicate which one is less complex or easier to understand. For example:
- The concept of gravity is more simple than the concept of quantum mechanics.
- The new theory is more simple than the old one.
Whether to use ‘simpler’ or ‘more simple’ depends on the context and personal preference. Remember when writing formally, it is best to use “simpler” instead of “more simple” to convey your message effectively and professionally.